Ms. Willis and Mr. Graham accepting grant

$2 Million Grant Awarded to Virginia Community Healthcare Association

pictured above: Virginia Community Healthcare Association Board President, Barbara Willis and CEO, Neal Graham, accepting the Sentara Healthcare and Optima Health Grant at the grant award presentation

For Immediate Release:

$2 Million Grant awarded

to Virginia Community Healthcare Association

Funds to Benefit Virginians Across the Commonwealth

Virginia Community Healthcare Association is pleased to announce that our organization is a recipient of a $2 million grant from Sentara Healthcare and Optima Health. The funding will be distributed to the Association’s 29 Community Health Center Member Organizations located across the Commonwealth and will support needs stemming from Medicaid expansion and address social determinants affecting the health and well-being of low-income Virginians, including access to care, behavioral health, and opioid addiction.

“This is a great opportunity. We are right in the midst of a transition point in healthcare in Virginia with the opportunity for Medicaid eligibility expansion. This grant will allow our centers to assist patients to enroll and engage in health coverage they have never had access to before,” said Neal Graham, CEO of Virginia Community Healthcare Association.

As of January 1, 2019, an estimated 400,000 Virginians are newly eligible for Medicaid. According to the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS), the expanded Medicaid enrolled population is now over 225,000. With the increase of Medicaid enrollees, the need for additional clinical and support staffs and enhancing administrative structures is important to provide the access to care.

Sentara Healthcare and Optima Health donated a total of $5.5 million to four non-profit Safety Net organizations supporting community health centers and food banks across the Commonwealth of Virginia. Other grant recipients are The Virginia Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, Virginia Health Care Foundation and the Federation of Virginia Food Banks.

“The organizations we are supporting are focused on the most fundamental issues in population health,” said Howard P. Kern, President and CEO of Sentara Healthcare. “Social determinants such as access to care, behavioral health and food insecurity, are identified in our Community Health Needs Assessments. We hope our contributions help these organizations continue to bring meaningful solutions to Virginia communities.”

“Our support of the Sentara Healthcare mission goes beyond covering sick visits and hospital stays,” said Dennis Matheis, President of Optima Health. “By addressing access to medical homes and health food, we’re investing in solutions to improve wellness and quality of life for thousands of Virginians.”


About Virginia Community Healthcare Association
Our Mission: Assuring Access to Primary Care for All Virginians. We believe that regardless of geographic location or income, all Virginians should have convenient, appropriate, and affordable primary care.

The Virginia Community Healthcare Association is a nonprofit healthcare association representing a large component of primary care safety net providers across Virginia. Member health centers include community health centers and similar non-profit community-based healthcare practices providing primary care, dental care, pharmaceutical services, behavioral health, and preventative health services in medically underserved areas. Currently serving over 339,000 Virginians, health centers have offered health services under a philosophy of “access for all” for over 40 years.