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Health agencies to receive $82.8M

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV, announced Monday that $82,842,125 in funding from the most recent COVID-19 relief package will be used to support health centers across West Virginia — including two in the Monongalia-Preston area.

The American Rescue plan will provide at minimum $4 million in direct aid to the state.

Among the 28 West Virginia health centers that will receive funding from the American Rescue Plan are three area agencies: Preston-Taylor Community Health Center and Clay-Battelle Health Services Association.

Preston-Taylor Community Health Center will receive $1,745,625 and Clay-Battelle Health Services Association will receive $1,190,250.

A representative of Clay-Battelle Health Services Association said Monday agency officials were surprised by the award and had not yet decided what they will do with the funding.

A representative of Preston-Taylor Community Health Center could not be reached for comment.

Manchin fought for the inclusion of health care providers, especially those based in rural areas, in the relief bill.

Manchin said West Virginia health care providers have “gone above and beyond” to care for other West Virginia residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said funding from the American Rescue Plan will help expand COVID-19 vaccination efforts, testing and treatment through health centers as well as help improve operational capacity at those health centers.

“We are finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel and the American Rescue Plan will help us defeat the COVID-19 pandemic. I look forward to seeing the benefits of this funding for the Mountain State, especially for health care providers in West Virginia,” Manchin said in a press release.

Sherri Ferrell, CEO of the West Virginia Primary Care Association, said the funding provided by the American Rescue Plan is a testament to the Biden administration and Congress, including West Virginia’s senators and representatives, continuing to see the necessity of community health centers in the state’s pandemic response.

“This funding is a lifeline for our state’s community health centers – all of which put their full effort into COVID-19 vaccination, testing and contact tracing. Every community health center in the state has been a part of the COVID-19 response for over a year. These much needed resources will enable health centers to continue these efforts in their communities,” she said.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will begin distributing the awards next month.