CHRIS CASTEEL, Washington Bureau Published: June 30, 2009
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WASHINGTON — First lady Michelle Obama announced Monday that 17 community health center organizations in Oklahoma will share nearly $8 million in federal stimulus money for repairs, renovations or new equipment for health clinics.

"Community health centers provide care to the Americans who need it most and their work has never been more important,” the first lady said. "These grants will help centers in Oklahoma serve more Americans who simply can’t afford insurance coverage anymore.”

The capital grants are the third installment of stimulus bill funding for community health centers. Oklahoma will get $7.8 million. An earlier grant to Oklahoma was aimed at expanding the number of clinics, which provide health care for people who might not otherwise receive it. Patients are charged based on their ability to pay.

Obama announced that the capital grants will total $850 million nationwide.

"For centers around the country, these Recovery Act grants will mean new diagnostic equipment, renovation of facilities that need repair, expanding computer centers to help manage electronic medical records, adding on new staff, expanding programs that work,” Obama said at a health care center in Washington.

"And over the next two years, Recovery Act dollars for community health centers will expand desperately needed services to more than 2.8 million people.”