$15 million federal grant to expand health care to people in Flint exposed to lead
Federal officials say $15 million is going to provide health and social services for people who have had or are at risk for lead exposure stemming from the Flint water crisis.
“We understand the urgency of the situation, and this funding will help connect affected and at-risk Flint residents to comprehensive health and social services proven to mitigate the effects of lead exposure,” says U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.
The funding announced Friday is previously authorized under a law providing $170 million to deal with drinking water safety issues. The $15 million goes to the Genesee County Health Department's Healthy Start Program.
Officials say the money aims to help residents with health issues linked to exposure to the water supply. Lead exposure can cause miscarriage, developmental delays and other problems.
Genesee County Health officer Mark Valacak says the grant will help fund programs aimed at long-term health needs.
“It really provides the potential to improve care coordination and serve the population here in Flint as best we can,” says Valacak.
Flint switched from the Detroit-area's system to the Flint River in 2014 to save money. The river water wasn't properly treated to reduce corrosion, causing lead to leach from old pipes and fixtures into drinking water.
“Today’s announcement is an important reminder that the water crisis is not over,” says Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint), “While these federal resources are important, it is also incumbent on the state of Michigan to do more to help aid in Flint’s recovery.”