Louisiana will receive $8.6 million in grants for community health centers through the federal Affordable Care Act, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The grants will help the centers serve an estimated 5,246 new patients. Health centers provide access to primary health care services. There are more than 8,500 service centers nationwide, providing care to nearly 19.5 million patients regardless of their ability to pay.

“For many Americans, community health centers are the major source of care that ranges from prevention to treatment of chronic diseases. This investment will expand our ability to provide high-quality care to millions of people while supporting good paying jobs in communities across the country,” Health Secretary Kalthleen Sebelius said in a news release.

The grants went to Primary Care Health Services Center in Monroe, $5 million; Southwest Louisiana Primary Health Care Center Inc. in Opelousas, $1.1 million; Access Health Louisiana in Luling, $479,367; David Raines Community Health Center in Shreveport, $491,096; Southeast Community Health Systems in Greensburg, $500,000; St. Thomas Community Health Center Inc. in New Orleans, $498,565; and Teche Action Board Inc. in Franklin, $500,000.

The Louisiana grants are part of more than $728 million awarded nationwide. The Affordable Care Act provides $9.5 billion to expand services over five years and $1.5 billion to support major construction and renovation projects at community health centers.