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Federal Money Used for Healthcare in Holyoke

HOLYOKE, Mass (WGGB) —         On Tuesday, Congressman Richard Neal announced more than $200,000 in funding from the federal government for three western mass health centers.

It’s Aurora Vicente’s Job, along with her team, to help people who don’t have health insurance get covered–whether they were already enrolled in a program or bumped out for various reasons.

“If they’ve been in a medical process that something has already started, then, yea, there is a desperate moment in their part that they’re coming to us to seek medical coverage right away,” said Vicente, a Manage Care Manager.

Holyoke will see federal grant money—more than $79,000 of the $288,000 allotted for healthcare centers in Springfield and Great Barrington.

It will go to hire staff for Aurora’s team…including folks who can speak Spanish in order to help even more people get enrolled.

“Federal grant money is critical to what we do here,” said Jay Breines, Executive Director at Holyoke Health Center. “In Holyoke we have a very large low-income community and most of our patients are on assistance from federal support, state support and we need to provide the highest population care.”

With online health insurance exchanges in the Affordable Care Act going into effect on October 1st, Breines says they’re starting to see a lot of activity ahead of it… and only get busier when folks start exploring their coverage options through the health insurance marketplace, Medicaid and children’s health insurance program.

The federal support doesn’t stop there. This is construction on their new pediatric dental care unit which is also funded with stimulus money.

Massachusetts has nearly 300 health center sites that served more than 630,000 people last year.

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