WASHINGTON – Community Health Centers of South Central Texas in Gonzales was awarded a federal grant of $393,739 to help expand the range of testing and testing-related activities with respect to the novel coronavirus, U.S. Senator John Cornyn announced last Friday, March 8. The funding, which was appropriated by Congress last month, comes through the Department of Health and Human Services.
“In order to most effectively combat the spread of this dangerous virus in Texas, our health centers must be equipped to test for COVID-19 efficiently,” said Sen. Cornyn. “I’m thankful to the Trump Administration for further expanding access to testing in Gonzales.”
"We would like to thank Congress for their continued support of Community Health Centers and for the emergency funding made available thus far, including this recent grant that was awarded to the Community Health Centers of South Central Texas (CHCSCT) to combat the COVID-19 pandemic,” Rafael De La Paz, the Chief Executive Officer of CHCSCT told the Inquirer. “This funding comes at a critical time as our organization makes the necessary adjustments to ensure the ongoing access to healthcare services in our community. One major adjustment for our center has been the transition into providing virtual healthcare. As of today, over 70% of all visits both medical and behavioral health are being provided via telemedicine. The pandemic has also placed a financial strain on the center as some services have been suspended or limited due to the high risk of exposure, causing a decrease in revenue. In addition, other services have been scaled back due to the lack of personal protective equipment, as shortages continue to exist across the nation. We are doing our very best with the available resources and continue to explore all avenues to get our operations back on track to ensure patients have access to needed services and testing.
“It is important to note that we are learning that the effects of COVID-19 will be with us for quite some time and all this is happening while health centers are operating on short-term funding fix through Nov. 30. In order to address the needs now and after this pandemic, health centers need Congress to support sustainable long-term funding. We’re asking for an extension of at least 5 years so that health centers can continue to keep their doors open and be in the front lines serving all individuals, especially those most vulnerable in our communities."