Greater Lawrence Family Health Center Receives Nearly $1 Million in Federal COVID-19 Testing Funds

A mobile health unit is one way GLFHC offers local care. (Courtesy file photograph.)

Greater Lawrence Family Health Center has received nearly $1 million in federal money to expand COVID-19 testing.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said late last week the $942,379 award is part of nearly $16 million given to 38 health centers in Massachusetts. The health center awards are part of the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act signed into law by President Trump April 24.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar said, “Widespread testing is a critical step in reopening America, and health centers are vital to making testing easily accessible, especially for underserved and minority populations. Further, because health centers can help notify contacts of patients who test positive, they will continue playing an important role in cooperating with state and local public health departments.”

The money may be used to expand the range of testing and testing-related activities to best address the needs of local communities, including the purchase of personal protective equipment; training for staff, outreach, procurement and administration of tests; laboratory services; notifying identified contacts of infected health center patients of their exposure to COVID-19; and the expansion of walk-up or drive-up testing capabilities.

Greater Lawrence Family Health Center operates centers in Lawrence and Methuen and plans one in Haverhill.

HRSA Administrator Tom Engels said, “Health centers are a first line of defense, as they are testing for coronavirus and delivering high-quality primary care to our nation’s most vulnerable populations.”

Earlier, Congresswoman Lori Trahan announced $154,800 in a federal grant from the Affordable Care Act Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Payment Program.

“This unprecedented global pandemic has highlighted the need for a highly trained medical workforce ready to respond to the health care needs of the American people. This federal investment will provide continued support for Greater Lawrence Family Health Center’s first-in-the-nation accredited graduate medical education program that is training the next generation of clinicians,” said Trahan.

“This important funding is so important to our health center and the future of building a solid, primary care workforce,” said Greater Lawrence Family Health Center President and CEO John M. Silva.

As part of their residency training, help to provide health services to an estimated one million patients each year. The Greater Lawrence Family Health Center—the only such facility in Massachusetts—was also the first teaching health center in the United States.

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