HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, Congresswoman Axne Tour Primary Health Care in Des Moines

August 26, 2021
Press Release
Primary Health Care has received over $14 million in federal COVID-19 aid to support operations and treatment during the pandemic

Today, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra and Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) visited Primary Health Care (PHC) in Des Moines to thank PHC and its staff for their help fighting COVID-19 cases in Iowa and to highlight the support their facilities have received from federal grants awarded during the pandemic.

“Health care clinics like Primary Health Care have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic – helping underserved Iowans get access to treatments, distributing life-saving vaccines, and continuing to provide other vital services like mental and dental care during these difficult times,” said Rep. Axne. “I’m proud of my votes in Congress that gave key support to Iowa clinics like these to enable them to keep serving patients throughout the past year, and I’m glad that I had the opportunity today to visit their facilities and thank their staff in person for all their hard work. Primary Health Care has helped so many people who otherwise wouldn’t have received the care they need. We are truly fortunate to have them here in Iowa.”

“Community Health centers like the Primary Health Care Clinic here in Des Moines continue to test, vaccinate, and act as lifelines to families disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. I thank Congresswoman Axne for hosting me here today and for her tireless efforts to support our frontline health care workers,” said U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra. “The Biden-Harris Administration has invested over $7.3 billion through the American Rescue Plan to support our community health centers’ COVID-19 response, including $48 million in Iowa. We will work to ensure health care is in reach for everyone.”

At a tour of PHC’s University Medical Clinic, Axne and Becerra met with PHC administrators, doctors and staff, and toured the facility’s dental clinic, family medicine clinic, pharmacy and homeless support services.

“We were honored to have Secretary Becerra and Congresswoman Axne tour our site today in Des Moines,” said Primary Health Care CEO Kelly Huntsman. “We appreciated the opportunity to show them firsthand the impact that our facilities and other community health centers have in the communities they serve, especially in the midst of an ongoing public health emergency. We were also grateful to have the chance to thank Secretary Becerra and the Congresswoman for the federal support that has helped our facilities serve Iowans over the past year.”

Earlier this year, Axne’s vote for the American Rescue Plan provided the Department of Health and Human Services and Secretary Becerra with the funding that enabled $8.8 million in grants to PHC to support their staffing and operations.

In total, Axne’s support for multiple rounds of federal COVID-19 relief bills has delivered over $14.4 million to PHC, and more than $1 billion in HHS funding for Iowa hospitals, health centers, and the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Since 1981, PHC has provided medical and dental care to underserved individuals at several locations in Ames, Marshalltown and Des Moines. Services offered include family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, OB, Title X services, substance abuse, behavioral health, oral medicine, HIV care and services, pharmacy, lab and x-ray.

Axne at PHC

Axne at PHC 2