The Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday the release of $338 million, made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to expand services offered at the nation's community health centers.

The grants - titled Increased Demand for Services (IDS) grants - will be distributed to 1,128 federally qualified health center grantees.

Health centers will use the funds over the next two years to create or retain approximately 6,400 health center jobs.

More Americans are losing their health insurance and turning to health centers for care, said Health Resources and Services Administrator Mary Wakefield.

These grants will aid centers in their efforts to provide care to an increasing number of patients during the economic downturn.

Grantees submitted plans explaining how the IDS funds would be used. Strategies to expand services may include, but are not limited to, adding new providers, expanding hours of operations or expanding services.

The funds will provide care to an additional 2.1 million patients over the next two years, including approximately 1 million uninsured people.

The IDS awards are the second set of health center grants provided through the Recovery Act. On March 2, President Barack Obama announced grants worth $155 million to establish 126 new health centers.

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