December 03, 2020

Hirono Announces $1.3 Million in Funding for West Hawaii Community Health Center

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) announced that West Hawaii Community Health Center (CHC) is set to receive $1,311,644 in funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to continue offering critical health services, including medical, dental, and behavioral health care, to rural and underserved communities at eight locations in West Hawaii. West Hawaii CHC also offers coronavirus testing and telemedicine to better serve their patients during the ongoing public health crisis.

“The coronavirus pandemic has stretched public health resources thin. This ongoing funding will support West Hawaii Community Health Center as they continue providing the essential health care services that Hawaii Island residents rely on. I remain an advocate of full funding for community health centers so these vital safety net providers can continue to keep communities across our state and country healthy,” Senator Hirono said.

“Access to affordable primary health care is incredibly vital for all people - especially now during the pandemic. All people deserve safe and dependable access to health care, regardless of their ability to pay. West Hawaii Community Health Center is proud to serve our community, providing essential medical, dental and behavioral health care services in-person, and via telehealth, for our community. Keeping our patients and our community safe during this pandemic is our number one priority. This award helps make these crucial services available for the people of West Hawaii,” Richard Taaffe, CEO of West Hawaii Community Health Center said.

This funding is part of a continuing grant for the calendar year 2021. Health centers may use this funding for a variety of projects, including the expansion of primary health care access to new health centers and sites, additional services, improving information technology, and boosting services for emerging public health concerns like COVID-19 prevention, response, testing, and recovery. 

Senator Hirono has been a steadfast champion for community health centers. She has repeatedly called on her colleagues to provide additional emergency funding for CHCs to respond to COVID-19. Senator Hirono each year supports funding for community health centers through the Health Centers Program during the annual appropriations process, and she has advocated for long-term reauthorization of the Community Health Center Fund.

In April, Senator Hirono announced over $10 million in new funding for Hawaii CHCs from the CARES Act to respond to, prevent, diagnose, and treat COVID-19, including more than $780,000 for West Hawaii CHC.