U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján
NAMBÉ — U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), the U.S. House Assistant Speaker, alongside U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representatives Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) and Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.), applauded grants totaling $439,864 awarded to Southwest C.A.R.E. Center and El Pueblo Health Services.
These clinics are classified as Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) look-alikes, which provide health care for underserved populations but do not receive Health Center Program funding from the federal government. Congressman Luján helped secure inclusion of FQHC look-alikes in recent COVID-19 relief legislation.
“Medically-underserved populations in New Mexico are especially vulnerable during the COVID-19 public health emergency. FQHC look-alikes are already providing these communities with high-quality care at little or no cost to patients,” Luján said. “I was proud to fight for these clinics and providers to receive the resources they need to continue serving residents and slow the spread of COVID-19 in New Mexico.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the lives of all New Mexicans, especially those living in already medically underserved communities,” said Udall, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “This funding is a positive step forward for ensuring organizations like the Southwest C.A.R.E. Center and El Pueblo Health Center can continue to provide invaluable health care and support to New Mexicans, no matter their health insurance status. I will continue to fight for critical funding to ensure that all New Mexicans have the resources they need to stay safe and healthy, no matter what zip code they live in.”
“Now more than ever it is critical that underserved populations have access to health care services, like those provided through FHQC look-alikes,” Heinrich said. “That is why I am proud to support this funding for Southwest C.A.R.E. and El Pueblo Health Services so that these health care clinics are able to proceed with their life-saving efforts. As we continue to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, I will keep fighting for funding that supports these health care providers and communities across New Mexico.”
“Every New Mexican deserves access to health care, a human right made all the more vital during a pandemic, but many underserved communities in our state have been disproportionately affected by this virus. When I was raising my daughter as a single mom, I remember struggling to piece together health care and worrying if I would be able to afford a hospital bill. Southwest C.A.R.E Center and El Pueblo Health Services are already on the front lines fighting for our communities, and this federal funding will help provide services for those in need across our state,” said Haaland.
“Investing in our community health clinics, including FQHC look-alikes, is key to improving access to health care in our rural and underserved communities. I’m pleased to see federal COVID-19 relief reach the Southwest C.A.R.E Center facility in Roswell, helping to bring critical care closer to home. I will continue to work with my colleagues on bipartisan solutions that ensure all New Mexicans are able to access quality, affordable healthcare when they need it,” said Torres Small.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded a grant of $254,387 to Southwest C.A.R.E. Center, which has locations in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Farmington, and Roswell. The Department has awarded a grant of $185,477 to El Pueblo Health Services in Bernalillo.
As a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Congressman Luján pushed to make look-alikes eligible for $600 million in funding provided for community health centers in the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. Because of their status, look-alikes were excluded from previous rounds of COVID-19 relief. In April, Luján joined Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-PA) in calling on House leadership to ensure that all community health centers were included in future relief packages.