Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand called on congressional leadership to include at least $1 billion for community health workers in any upcoming COVID-19 supplemental funding package to help tackle health care issues at the local level. The funds that Senator Gillibrand seeks in her letter would build on the $3 billion she secured in the American Rescue Plan based on her legislation – the Health Force, Resilience Force, and Jobs to Fight COVID-19 Act (Health Force). The CDC has been using this funding to provide much-needed support to health workers treating COVID-19 and other patients at the ground level, including in New York, as well as helping with vaccine administration and connecting underserved communities with social and wraparound services.
“The public health workforce is the pillar that keeps our communities safe and healthy. It’s our public health system that provides assistance in emergencies, helps people make the most of the health services available to them, and connects them to services outside of the doctor’s office, like housing and nutrition support, that play just as big of a role in their overall health,” said Senator Gillibrand. “That’s why I believe that every community should have a Health Force – a strong, local community health workforce like the ones we’ve been able to establish in New York, providing boots-on-the-ground, all-around health and social service support to those who need it the most. I’m calling on congressional leadership to include at least $1 billion for community health workers in any upcoming COVID-19 supplemental funding package to tackle these public health challenges from the local level.”
The $3 billion already secured by Senator Gillibrand in the American Rescue Plan is being invested in the creation of a robust public health workforce, providing community leaders with the tools to improve health outcomes in their communities.
In New York, the recent monkeypox and polio outbreaks are causing great concern. As we enter into the fall season, health care officials are warning about a potential uptick in COVID-19 infections as people begin to spend more time indoors. These simultaneous health crises demand urgent resources to alleviate an already strained health care system. New York City received $35 million from Gillibrand’s Health Force initiative and established the inaugural New York City Public Health Corps with more than 500 community health care workers. The New York City Public Health Corps has managed to help with a range of issues, from getting people vaccinated to counseling residents about diabetes and depression.
For those who would like more information on how to apply for the funding allocated in the American Rescue Plan, please visit gillibrand.senate.gov/help/grants or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the draft letter, please click here.