The Health and Human Services Department announced last week that a $975,000 grant had been awarded to the Venice Family Clinic as part of the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" that is being ruled upon Thursday by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The health care reform act, better known as "Obamacare," has been challenged on constitutionality grounds and the potential impact of the high court's ruling on the funding for the Venice Family Clinic was unknown.
The Venice Family Clinic, which is the largest free medical clinic in the country, was among 12 community medical centers across Los Angeles County awarded $6.8 million in grants. Federal officials last week also announced new funding of $128.6 million to 219 community health center programs nationwide.
"Health centers serve more than 20 million patients nationwide and are an integral part of our health care system," said Mary K. Wakefield, administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration in a statement. "These awards demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to quality health care through the creation of new health center sites."
The funding is part of the Affordable Care Act, which provides $9.5 billion to expand services over five years and $1.5 billion to support major construction and renovation projects at community health centers. The $128.6 million in funding nationwide was expected to create about 5,640 jobs for doctors, nurses, dental providers and other healthcare staff.
“This funding will allow Venice Family Clinic to increase our services to 4,000 additional low-income men, women and children on the Westside. One quarter of the new patients served will be homeless," said Venice Family Clinic executive director Elizabeth Benson Forer on Tuesday in a statement. "The $975,000 grant covers an 18-month period, which translates into $650,000 annually for Venice Family Clinic—the maximum that can be awarded for a New Access Point grant.”
If the Supreme Court rules against the health care reform act, the clinic doesn't yet know what impact the decision would have on the funds, Forer said.