Cares Community Health Designated Federally Qualified Health Center

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Funding awarded to expand quality primary care to those who need it in Sacramento

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The safety net for Greater Sacramento’s most vulnerable families has just gained tremendous reinforcement with Cares becoming an FQHC

Cares Community Health, a private, nonprofit community health center, today announced it has been designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a Federally Qualified Health Center or “FQHC.” In receiving this designation, Cares Community Health will receive annual federal funds of approximately $704,000, which will greatly expand its capacity to provide high quality primary care for those who need it in the Sacramento region.

News of this designation arrived yesterday shortly after U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced $101 million in Affordable Care Act funding to 164 new health center sites, Cares Community Health among them, in 33 states for the delivery of comprehensive primary health care services in communities that need them most. These new health centers are projected to increase access to health care for nearly 650,000 patients nationwide, adding to the more than 550 new health center sites that have opened since enactment of the Affordable Care Act.

“Cares Community Health has provided critical community health services in the Sacramento area for many years,” said Congresswoman Doris Matsui. “I am so pleased that they have expanded their services and earned status as a fully-fledged Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). The Affordable Care Act (ACA) established $11 billion in additional funding to increase and expand operation and construction of health centers throughout the nation. Cares becoming an FQHC is an example of the Sacramento health system’s leadership in implementing the ACA and making it work for our communities.”

As a leading safety net provider in the Sacramento region for more than 25 years, Cares Community Health has always been committed to providing high quality, culturally competent primary care and reducing health disparities in the underinsured and uninsured populations. With nearly 227,000 individuals estimated to need access to primary care in the Sacramento region, Cares Community Health views itself as an essential regional partner collaborating with other community safety net clinics, health care providers, regional foundations, and civic leaders to help address this larger Sacramento community need.

“The safety net for Greater Sacramento’s most vulnerable families has just gained tremendous reinforcement with Cares becoming an FQHC,” said Bob Kamrath, Chief Executive Officer of Cares Community Health. “This designation will have profound implications for our ability to enhance the public health and wellbeing of our community. We’ve been making continual strides toward this moment and this only reaffirms our commitment to our patients and their families.”

Since making a strategic decision a few years ago to begin serving a larger segment of the Sacramento community so that all may live healthier, more productive lives, Cares Community Health has seen exponential growth in primary care visits and its pharmacy volume. Over the past twelve months, Cares Community Health has provided over 32,000 office visits to 4,650 primarily uninsured and underinsured residents of the Sacramento region, an increase of more than 30 percent from the preceding twelve months.

“Even before today’s exciting announcement, we were already dedicated to delivering high quality primary care and services to our region’s most at-risk families and individuals,” said Gaylene Huntsman, Board Chair of Cares Community Health. “The FQHC designation creates the potential for us to greatly expand our mission even more and help meet our community’s unmet health care needs. I’d like to thank the board and Cares’ leadership team for their hard work, dedication and vision and our many community partners for their continued support.”

Expansion plans are well underway. With additional investment from the CARES Foundation, Cares Community Health will be moving from its midtown Sacramento space into a newly remodeled medical building next door in the near future that will effectively triple available space for primary care visits. This new building will house an interdisciplinary team of health care providers and professionals including physicians, nurse practitioners, dentists, psychiatrists, mental health therapists, substance abuse counselors and nutritionists to help integrate and coordinate care and treatment. Cares Community Health is also a nationally-recognized Level III-certified Patient Centered Medical Home, a designation from the National Committee for Quality Assurance. The additional clinical space will help accommodate patient demand, increase access to quality care and provide an attractive alternative to costlier venues such as hospital emergency rooms.

“Congratulations to Cares Community Health for their recent federal funding award, creating a new Federally-Qualified Health Center here in Sacramento,” said Carmela Castellano-Garcia, President and CEO of the California Primary Care Association. “With this funding, Cares Community Health will be able to serve even more patients in Sacramento, further strengthening our community health center system in the area. We are so pleased to share in this celebration and look forward to our continued work in the future for a healthy Sacramento, and a healthy California.”

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ designation announcement of Cares Community Health, among the other 163 New Access Point grant award winners, can be viewed here:

About Cares Community Health
Cares Community Health has a long history of public health service in the Sacramento community. Its roots were first established in 1989 as the Center for AIDS Research, Education and Services (CARES) to serve people living with HIV/AIDS. The four hospital systems—University of California, Davis, Medical Center; Sutter Health; Dignity Health and Kaiser Permanente—along with Sacramento County collaborated to form and support CARES during their early years in fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In 2014, Cares Community Health launched the Equally Well Initiative with goals to strive to end new cases of HIV, reduce disparities experienced by the mentally ill, and help those without insurance obtain it to live healthier lives. More at

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Janet Parker-Seychelles
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