(Manchester, NH) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) today announced that New Hampshire will receive $24,568,498 to address COVID-19 related health disparities among communities considered to be high-risk and medically underserved, including communities of color and Granite Staters in rural areas. Specifically, the funding is being awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act that was passed by Congress and signed into law in December and will allow the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services to boost COVID-19 testing and contact tracing capabilities. The funding will also help create and deploy new mitigation and prevention services, improve data collection and empower community partners to address COVID-19 health disparities.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated serious barriers and inequities in New Hampshire’s health care system that face our rural families and communities of color. As a result, these Granite Staters have borne the brunt of this public health emergency with a disproportionate share of our state’s COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations,” said Senator Shaheen. “To get to the other side of this crisis, we must address these health disparities and ensure all Granite Staters have access to the health care services they need regardless of their location, background or income, which is exactly what these federal dollars will help do. I’ll continue to work in the Senate to address health disparities in our state and advocate for additional federal resources Granite Staters need to weather this crisis.”
“Granite Staters in rural areas and people of color often lack access to the high-quality health care that they need, and this has been especially true amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” Senator Hassan said. “This $24.5 million grant through the year-end relief bill will help New Hampshire address these ongoing health disparities and get critical resources to Granite Staters. The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare many challenges in our health care system, and I will continue working to improve health care access for all Granite Staters.”
“Every day, New Hampshire is getting closer to finally crushing this virus, ending this public health and economic emergency, and building back better,” said Representative Kuster. “As we continue those efforts, it’s critical that our underserved and rural communities that have been disproportionately affected by this pandemic have access to the support they need, including the highly effective COVID-19 vaccines. That’s what these federal dollars help accomplish – I was proud to help secure these much-needed funds and will continue working to ensure no Granite Stater is left behind.”
“Granite Staters in historically underserved communities and those who are at high-risk have been hit incredibly hard by this pandemic,” said Representative Pappas. “This federal funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approved through the December Coronavirus Response, will help address health disparities that have arisen because of COVID-19 through a number of improved services and resources. It will also ensure that local community partners are able to address COVID-19 health disparities and keep our communities healthy and safe. This funding arrives at a crucial time for our state and I’m pleased to join in announcing these important new resources.”
Shaheen and Hassan are members of the bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers that has steered negotiations of COVID-19 relief. The COVID-19 relief bill signed into law in December contained Shaheen- and Hassan-negotiated legislation that provided urgently needed assistance to American students, families, businesses, workers and health care providers impacted by the public health and economic crises. Senator Shaheen had a similar leadership role as a negotiator for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law last March and secured New Hampshire an initial $1.25 billion to assist with COVID-19 response efforts.
The delegation also worked to secure the passage of the American Rescue Plan to respond to the full scope of this public health and economic emergency. They recently announced that the state and Granite State communities will receive more than $1.4 billion in COVID-19 financial relief, as well as nearly $10.7 million to combat the substance use disorder epidemic and support mental health services in New Hampshire. That’s in addition to $350.5 million to help schools safely re-open and support students, $20.2 million to help community health centers expand access to vaccines and $40.9 million to help expand COVID-19 testing in Granite State schools. In addition, they have also announced funding from the legislation to strengthen home visiting services for vulnerable families and support COVID-19 vaccination efforts in underserved communities in the state.