Posts Tagged ‘osceola county’

Florida House budget removes $2M in grants for homeless coalitions

Posted on: February 7th, 2012 by The American Independent No Comments
Last December, the National Center on Family Homelessness gave Florida a failing grade on homelessness for not having a “state 10-year plan that includes children and families.” The Florida Legislature has responded by cutting state grants to local homeless-support groups.

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Economic incentives bring Colt to Central Florida

Posted on: December 6th, 2011 by The American Independent 1 Comment
Colt Manufacturing Company decided to set up a plant that will generate 63 jobs over the next three years in Osceola County, thanks to economic incentives offered by county and state agencies.

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Florida schools asked to monitor enrollment of students displaced by Alabama immigration law

Posted on: October 11th, 2011 by The American Independent No Comments

The impact of Alabama’s new immigration law, which requires K-12 schools to check the immigration status of their students, could be felt in several states, including Florida. (more…)

Florida receives $1million from Obama health care law to open community clinics

Posted on: September 16th, 2011 by The American Independent No Comments
Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded $10 million dollars to “129 organizations across the country that would like to become community health centers. These funds, made available by the Affordable Care Act, support organizations’ development as a future health center.” Florida, in particular, was awarded about $880,000 — nearly a tenth of the money handed out.

According to a press release from the federal health agency:

Today’s awards fund several community-based entities seeking to provide a more comprehensive range of primary health care services and/or expand their services to the larger community. These include seven organizations traditionally focused on Tribal/Urban Indian health, five targeting mental health services, four geared toward HIV/AIDS services, three focused on faith-based initiatives, and one senior center. The funding announced today will help these organizations plan for the development of a comprehensive primary care health center, so that they can provide care for some of the nation’s most vulnerable populations and potentially create more high-quality jobs in the future for their communities.

“The Health Center Planning Grants help organizations plan to become health centers,” said HRSA Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N. “These awards demonstrate HRSA’s commitment to expanding access to quality preventive and primary health care in high need areas across the country.”

Eligible applicants included public or nonprofit private entities, including tribal, faith-based and community-based organizations. Current Health Center Program grantees were not eligible.

Community health centers are neighborhood medical clinics that provide services to populations that otherwise have little access to health care. The centers are a mixture of public entities and private nonprofits. Almost 400 centers in the Florida receive taxpayer dollars.

The Center for American Progress recently released a report evaluating the importance community health centers in communities all over the country. According to the organization’s report, “community health centers are a crucial source of health care for a diverse group of patients, providing preventive services, treatment, and care management for medically under-served communities.”

Community health centers have been the primary source of medical care for many low-income workers and uninsured people, most of whom are ethnic or racial minorities. They also take care of individuals with disabilities, immigrants and members of the transgender community. According to American Progress, these are “all under-served communities prone to receiving disparate health care services.”

Most importantly, the need for these centers, American Progress reports, is growing:

The patient load in community health centers around the nation is on the rise. The number of people without access to affordable health care—56 million, or one-fifth of Americans, according to the National Association of Community Health Centers—is growing because of rising health care costs for individuals and families and due to persistent unemployment at near-double-digit percentages, which eliminates employer-based health insurance for those workers who lose their jobs and for their families, too.

The need in Florida, in particular, is growing. The state has one of the highest rates of people without insurance in the country.

This year, community health centers in Osceola County lost out on millions of federal dollars because state policy-makers rejected federal funds due to their political opposition to the Affordable Care Act, which allocated the funds for the centers.

U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services announces $700M for community health centers

Posted on: September 9th, 2011 by The American Independent 1 Comment

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced a new funding opportunity for community health centers across the country.

According to an agency press release:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced the availability of approximately $700 million to help build, expand and improve community health centers across the U.S. to provide needed care to low-income Americans. The funds, authorized by the Affordable Care Act, will support renovation and construction projects, boosting centers’ ability to care for additional patients and creating jobs in those communities. Community health centers are an integral source of local employment and economic growth in many underserved and low-income communities. In 2010, they employed more than 131,000 staff and new funds made available today will help create thousands of jobs nationwide.

This announcement has two funding opportunities for community health centers. One will provide approximately $600 million to existing health centers across the country for longer-term projects to expand their facilities, hire more employees and serve more patients. The second funding opportunity emphasizes shorter-term projects and will provide approximately $100 million to existing health centers to address immediate facility needs.

“For many Americans, community health centers are the major source of care that ranges from prevention to treatment. These funds will expand our ability to provide high-quality care to millions of people while supporting good paying jobs in communities across the country,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

In Florida, state legislators have rejected funds from the federal government for community health centers in the past. In particular, the Legislature struck down $8.3 million for the expansion of community health centers in Osceola County.

However, community health centers that do not require the budget authority of the Legislature have been able to take part in the federal government’s effort to improve funding for community health.

Community health centers are neighborhood clinics that provide medical services to populations that otherwise have little access to care. The centers are a mixture of public entities and private nonprofits. Almost 400 centers in the state of Florida receive taxpayer dollars.

According to a report from the Center for American Progress, “community health centers are a crucial source of health care for a diverse group of patients, providing preventive services, treatment, and care management for medically under-served communities.” These centers fill in access and care disparity gaps among “a diverse array of low-income workers and their families, most of them ethnic or racial minorities, as well as individuals with disabilities, immigrants, and part of the gay and transgender community—all under-served communities prone to receiving disparate health care services.”

Most importantly, the need for these centers, American Progress reports, is growing:

The patient load in community health centers around the nation is on the rise. The number of people without access to affordable health care—56 million, or one-fifth of Americans, according to the National Association of Community Health Centers—is growing because of rising health care costs for individuals and families and due to persistent unemployment at near-double-digit percentages, which eliminates employer-based health insurance for those workers who lose their jobs and for their families, too.

Florida currently has the second highest rate of people without insurance in the country.

Florida has turned down $106million in federal health care funds

Posted on: September 9th, 2011 by The American Independent No Comments

The Associated Press is reporting that Gov. Rick Scott and the GOP-led Legislature have “rejected or declined to pursue more than $106 million in federal grant money and returned another $4.5 million” for health care initiatives in the state.

According to the AP:

Scott ordered state agencies to reject any money tied to President Barack Obama’s health care plan, which Florida is challenging in court, but Scott kept more than $13 million for a four-year abstinence education grant and for another program coordinating background checks for long-term care workers.

Lawmakers have also rejected nearly $50 million, including $875,000 over five years for a program that aids in cancer prevention and increases access to quality care for cancer patients and $8.3 million allowing Osceola County Health Department to expand community health centers.

In June, a legislative panel turned down a $2.1 million federal grant that would have fully paid for administrative costs to pave the way for an additional $35.7 million in Medicaid funding to pay for nursing home diversions of disabled and elderly patients over the next five years.

The money was offered this year to Florida and 12 other states as part of the federal health care overhaul law. They were invited to join 29 states and the District of Columbia, which already participate in the Money Follows the Person demonstration program. Scott, a Republican, had recommended accepting the grant although he’s been a leading opponent of the federal law, but the GOP-majority commission rejected it on a split vote.

Additionally, the state did not pursue $50 million over five years for community health programs focusing on disease prevention.

Most recently the state Legislature accepted money it originally rejected from the health care reform law for home visiting programs in Florida. Although most GOP members of the state Legislature were initially opposed, the fact that the grant money was tied to a $100 million in federal education grants changed minds.

HHS giving almost $1 million to independent community health centers in Florida

Posted on: August 9th, 2011 by The American Independent No Comments

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today announced it is awarding $28.8 million to 67 community health center programs across the country. Two independent community health centers in Florida were included in the award list# (more…)

Florida Gov. Scott budget signing ceremony turns into political rally

Posted on: May 26th, 2011 by The American Independent No Comments

Image by Matt MahurinGov. Rick Scott signed his budget this afternoon, but not before wielding his “favorite pen” to strike what he said were $615 million in line-item vetoes. #


He said he wanted lawmakers to put the money toward education (more…)