Two health centers in Flint, Mich., will split $500,000 in federal funding to expand their response to the water crisis in the city.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the funding on Thursday after Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell toured healthcare facilities in the area.
“We are focused on supporting the people of Flint by helping to ensure they have access to clean water and the health services they need to mitigate the effects of lead exposure,” Burwell said in a statement after visiting the HCHN.
“This additional funding will allow health centers in Flint to enhance their lead testing efforts and quickly hire more staff for community outreach and to better meet the needs of the people they serve.”
Burwell is in Flint this week meeting with local officials and assessing the situation in the city, which has seen elevated lead levels in its drinking water since switching its water source.
Burrell met with Gov. Rick Snyder (R) on Thursday and discussed the federal government’s response to the crisis. She and other HHS officials met with members of the state’s congressional delegation last week, promising a host of efforts to help the city, including an expansion of Medicaid coverage for affected children and pregnant women in the city.
“The funding we’re announcing today is one of many ways we are supporting health recovery for the community, and we will continue to look across federal programs, including in health, nutrition and education, to assist the people of Flint,” said Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Nicole Lurie, who is leading the federal government response to the crisis.
In a statement, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) hailed the effort, but said the Snyder administration needs to do more to help the city.
“The state has failed the people of Flint, and now they must do more to fix the problem, including providing more health services to children exposed to lead, ensuring that residents don't pay for any water they can't drink or use, and rebuilding the state's infrastructure,” Cummings said.
Snyder will soon testify on the Flint crisis before the House Oversight Committee, on which Cummings is the ranking member.