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Congresswoman Escobar and El Paso Community Health Centers Announce Reception of Over $12.6 Million in Coronavirus Relief Funding from the American Rescue Plan

Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Chief Executive Officer of Centro San Vicente Dr. Christina Paz, Chief Executive Officer of Centro De Salud Familiar La Fe Salvador Balcorta, and Project Vida Co-Director Bill Schlesinger announced that El Paso Community Health Centers will be awarded a combined total of $12,650,875 from the American Rescue Plan.

The funding will allow El Paso Community Health Centers to expand COVID-19 vaccinations, testing, and treatment for vulnerable populations, expand operational capacity during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond, and continue delivering preventive and primary health care services to El Pasoans at higher risk for COVID-19. 

“For over a year, El Paso Community Health Centers – Centro San Vicente, La Fe, and Project Vida – have been critical to our community’s response to the coronavirus health crisis,” said Congresswoman Escobar. “Supporting healthcare workers and medical facilities has been one of my top priorities throughout this pandemic and I am proud to have supported the American Rescue Plan to provide immediate relief to those on the frontline, ensure the equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, and expand health care coverage, lower costs, and ensure that health care truly is a right for all El Pasoans.”

“Centro San Vicente takes pride in providing health equity, evidence-based patient centered health care to El Paso. Community Health Centers like Centro San Vicente are integral in communities and serve as health safety nets providing care to thousands of individuals,” said Dr. Christina Paz. “Centro San Vicente’s mission is to provide services to those whom are often marginalized, underserved and vulnerable. With funding from the American Rescue Plan, we will dramatically enhance services to help combat COVID-19, further expand operations to provide vaccine administration and education with the goal to save lives of those who are already vulnerable and susceptible to COVID-19. Centro San Vicente is eternally grateful that Community Health Centers are recognized as critical components to assist in the COVID-19 fight.”

“Our community continues to be overlooked as the essential workers that they are. El Paso’s predominantly Mexican-American population reflects the great truth that Latinos are the backbone of this nation’s workforce – a reality that places our families among the most vulnerable to COVID-19,” said Salvador Balcorta, MSSW. “We harvest this nation’s fields and put food on everyone’s dinner tables. We safeguard our nation’s children, elderly, and medical patients. We make sure the hard work of grocery stores, restaurants, classrooms, hotels, and retail sites across the land gets done. We are grateful for Representative Escobar’s leadership role in Congress. We are grateful for President Biden’s continued support of our struggle. La Fe is in this fight for the long haul. La Lucha Sigue.” 

“These critical funds come at a time of ongoing disruption in patient care and contact, and could not be more helpful,” said Bill Schlesinger. “Dental services are beginning to see the return of patients with issues after a year of little or no access. Women’s health, lab work and preventive health care have almost all been ‘on hold,’ while stress and anxiety have not. Thanks to the funding provided by American Rescue Plan Act, we will re-engage patients who’ve been afraid to leave their home and vulnerable families with ongoing health needs.”

The funding was authorized and made available by the American Rescue Plan Act, which Congresswoman Escobar voted for and was signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11, 2021. This comprehensive bill delivers critical relief to El Paso families and small businesses, will lift millions out of poverty, and accelerates vaccination efforts to finally defeat the virus.

The funding will be distributed starting April 1, 2021 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to nearly 1,400 Community Health Centers nationwide funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Below the allocation of funding by health center: 

  • Centro San Vicente: $4,979,750
  • Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe: $3,858,125
  • Project Vida Health Center: $3,813,000

Additionally, as part of the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to ensure equity is at the center of our nations’ COVID-19 response, $3 billion will be invested to support local efforts to increase vaccine uptake and equity, as well as $330 million to support community health workers to support COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, vaccination, and other response activities. More than half of this funding is being made available thanks to the American Rescue Plan through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Learn more about the American Rescue Plan here.

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