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Feds give $7 million to Maryland health centers to expand coronavirus testing

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is giving nearly $7 million to expand coronavirus testing in underserved communities in Maryland.

The Health Resources and Services administration will distribute the money, $6,975,492, to 18 health centers in the state, according to the HRSA website.

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In Baltimore, awards include:

  • $929,779 to Baltimore Medical System Inc.
  • $699,529 to Chase Brexton Health Services Inc.
  • $611,314 to Total Health Care Inc.
  • $178,054 to Family Health Centers of Baltimore Inc.
  • $238,969 to Health Care for the Homeless
  • $204,274 to Park West Health Systems Incorporated

In a statement, department secretary Alex Azar called widespread testing “a critical step in reopening America.” Health centers, he said, play a vital role particularly in vulnerable and minority communities.

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Health centers will use the money to buy tests and personal protective equipment and to pay for training, outreach and laboratory services. Centers may also expand walk-up or drive-thru testing capabilities and notify the contacts of infected patients of exposure to COVID-19, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Nearly $583 million total was awarded to 1,385 sites across the U.S. The amount of money varies widely by state; health care centers in California received a total of more than $97 million, while New York, one of the states hardest hit by the virus, was allocated around $40 million.

The Health Resources and Services administration previously awarded $1.42 billion to health centers to address the pandemic.

The latest funding comes from the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, signed into law April 24.

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