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Federal funding awarded to Utah health centers

FILE - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded funding to Utah Community Health Centers for quality service and care. The announcement comes a day after Gov. Gary Herbert declared Aug. 13-19 as Health Center Week in Utah.
FILE - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded funding to Utah Community Health Centers for quality service and care. The announcement comes a day after Gov. Gary Herbert declared Aug. 13-19 as Health Center Week in Utah.
Alex Goodlett, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services gave nearly $1 million to Utah community health centers for quality service and care, according to a statement released Tuesday.

The announcement comes a day after Gov. Gary Herbert declared Aug. 13-19 as Health Center Week in Utah.

The department gave $952,509 to 13 community health organizations in Utah.

"I’m proud of the work health centers do to serve vulnerable populations, particularly residents of rural communities who, without local health centers, might have to drive an hour or more to see a primary care physician," the governor said in a statement. "Health centers do a fine job of providing high-quality care to Utah's communities."

Health Center Week is part of a larger national campaign happening to support health centers. Despite the funding, staff at the health centers are more worried about the deadline next month when federal funding dries up on Sept. 30.

"I don't care if those goes away as long as the funding cliff isn't realized," said Alan Pruhs, executive director for Utah's Community Health Clinics. "Better to have a base grant maintained than to go out of business."

In Utah, there are 13 organizations with 54 clinics set up in places where patients have limited access to care. More than 147,000 Utahns are treated at the clinics every year, the release stated.

The groups plan to use the additional funds to improve efficiency of the community health care services, like providing primary and preventative care for patients. This includes dental, mental health and pharmacy needs, according to the release.