MONTPELIER, Vt. (WFFF) — Vermonters across the state can expect better access to health care. More than $33 million are coming into the Green Mountain State to support Vermont's federally qualified health care centers. There are 11 of them, offering care at 66 different locations statewide.
These federal dollars are the largest single investment in the history of the state's community health care centers, which nearly a third of all Vermonters rely on.
"What a community health center is about is a facility opened to all people, not just low-income people, but all people," said Senator Bernie Sanders.
These centers provide primary health care, dental care, mental health services, and low-cost prescription drugs to nearly 190,000 Vermonters.
"Per capita participation in Vermont is higher than in any other state in this country," said Sanders.
He says the state's community health centers are a model for the nation -- but he says there's more work to do.
"In spite of all the growth and change that has taken place, our mission has been the same: To improve the health of all in the communities we serve," said Community Health Centers of Burlington CEO Jeff McKee.
He says the organization has already started planning what to do with these federal dollars.
"First we'll be adding resources to provide mobile testing and vaccine administration services to underserved populations across the community, particularly those experiencing homelessness, living in rural areas, or our BIPOC community members," said Mckee.
This funding is part of a $12 billion program nation wide.
"Tens of millions of people, even those with insurance are having a hard time getting to the dentists and doctors that they need. Every person in the state of Vermont and in fact every person in America is entitled to quality healthcare as a human right," said Sanders.
Sanders said the American Rescue Plan will also provide $800 million for a program called the National Health Service Corps. Vermont's share of that money will help hire nurses, doctors, and dentists in locations where they're needed most.