Community Health Center Funding Cliff

Northeast Valley Health Corporation (NEVHC) and Community Health Centers (CHC’s) nationwide are facing a funding cliff as federal funds approved by Congress are set to expire on September 30, 2019. Fixing the cliff is crucial for CHC’s to continue subsidizing health care for uninsured and underinsured patient populations. Solutions to secure funding for CHC’s will require bi-partisan and bi-cameral efforts along with effective advocacy from our network to educate our federal legislators about the positive impact CHC’s provide to patients and our economy.

Congress approves funding for CHC’s through mandatory and discretionary appropriations. Discretionary funds are usually allocated each fiscal year and mandatory funding every few years but both are crucial to the operation of CHC’s. In January of this year Senators Roy Blunt (R – MO) and Debbie Stabenow (D – MI) introduced the bi-partisan Community Health Improvement, Modernization, and Excellence (CHIME) Act S. 106, which would reauthorize funding for community health centers and Health Service Corps. The CHIME Act proposes to extend the Community Health Centers Fund for an additional five years and will increase funding steadily to $5.0 billion in 2024, a long-term funding increase that is much needed. In addition to the CHIME Act, Senator’s Alexander Lamar (R-TN) and Patt Murray (D-Wash) introduced S. 192 a second bi-partisan appropriation bill which will provide funding to extend workforce programs to help community health centers recruit and retain talented and diverse employees. In addition to these bills Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is expected to introduce a third bill which would also include a five year funding extension and the House of Representatives is expected to introduce funding bills as well soon.

Congress has begun the process to secure long-term funding for community health centers showing an understanding and commitment to fixing the funding cliff. It is crucial that we continue our advocacy efforts to remind our federal legislators of the excellent return on investment and quality of care NEVHC and CHC’s throughout the nation provide to their constituencies. Click here to join NEVHC’s advocacy efforts by e-mailing or sending a tweet to your Congressmember to remind them that healthy communities matter!

Sources:

Kwasnik, Elizabeth. “5 March Recent Efforts to Address the Issue of Health Center Funding.” HCAdvocacy, 5 March. 2019, www.hcadvocacy.org/blog/chime-act-introduced-in-the-senate-to-address-health-center-funding/.

https://www.hcadvocacy.org/cliffcorner/

For questions or more information please feel free to contact NEVHC’s Government and Community Relations Manager, Brian Gavidia at: briangavidia@nevhc.org or (818) 780-9540.

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