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2 area health centers get federal funding

Federal funding of $5.5 million has been awarded to two Buffalo-area community health centers to help pay for renovations and relocation of services.

The Community Health Center of Buffalo on Grider Street received $5 million to relocate its Community Health Center of Niagara Falls from outdated space in the Mizer Building to a new location near Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.

The Northwest Buffalo Community Health Center on Lawn Avenue received $500,000 to renovate its heating-cooling system, exam rooms and waiting room.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Monday announced a total of $728 million in grants for 398 renovation and construction projects at community health centers across the nation. The funding comes from the new care health reform law.

The Affordable Care Act included $9.5 billion to expand community health center services over five years and $1.5 billion to support major construction and renovation projects at community health centers, according to the agency.

Known officially as federally qualified health centers, these facilities receive higher reimbursement from the government in exchange for providing fairly comprehensive basic medical services regardless of a patient's ability to pay.

The new Niagara Falls building will be a two-story 23,200-square-foot facility, with an anticipated completion date in April 2014. It is expected to create 12 new full-time jobs, according to a statement from Sen. Charles E. Schumer.