Community Health Center funding was cut by $600 million dollars when legislators finally came to an agreement on the federal budget last week.
[T]his major reduction will — in this year alone — negate the ability to provide basic health care services to over 5 million of our most vulnerable Americans, and will seriously undermine the ability of health centers to provide services to 40 million people by 2015.” – press release from the National Association of Community Health Centers
This cut in health center funding has received mixed feelings from people everywhere. The good thing is that, according to Congressional summaries, no health center SHOULD have to close its doors and funding to continue services as is will remain. However, with the good, comes the bad. Community health center expansion is halted. This will affect the millions of people in this country who, today, cannot access basic primary and preventive health care services in their local communities. It also affects health care costs, as these underserved communities must continue relying on expensive visits to the emergency room for their basic primary care. With cuts in appropriations, the Department of Health and Human Services will have to redirect funds from the Affordable Care Act in order to simply maintain operations as they are today.
Feel free to research the links above to learn more about the state of the Health Center Program TODAY, but as advocates giving a care about health centers in Indianapolis, the state of Indiana, AND throughout our nation, we need to keep forging ahead.
Here are three ways to help community health center expansion despite the funding cuts.
- Continue to call, email, and fax letters to your legislators
- Remind your Representatives and Senators that even the slightest setback will not discourage us from emphasizing the importance of health center funding. This will give us more clout and respect as an advocacy group, and our Congressmen will have to continue to take us seriously.
- Educate your friends and family about community health centers.
- Plenty of people STILL do not understand the mission and role of community health centers. Spreading the good news of the work done in our centers, the money the health care system saves, and the number of lives touched by FQHCs can only help gain more advocates who will be easily persuaded to sign a petition or send and email when called upon to do so.
- Keep working with the same amount of passion.
- Whether you are a front desk worker, a physician, a nurse midwife, or finance staff person, continue to approach your job with the same passion day in and day out. Our funding may have been cut, but that should not mean that our quality of care has been cut. The passion of CHC staff is what makes advocacy easy!
What is one project that you would like to see done to help with Health Center Advocacy? Share your ideas below!!