Community health centers are scrambling to make contingency plans as they anxiously wait to see if Congress will renew billions of dollars in federal funding that expired on Sept. 30.
Often situated in medically underserved areas, the health centers provide care to some 26 million of the nation’s most vulnerable people. They’re required to take any patient who seeks care, regardless of whether they can pay.
But the funding uncertainty is causing problems for health centers. Some are instituting hiring freezes and having trouble recruiting and retaining employees.
“The uncertainty is so challenging for our members,” said Rose Duhan, the CEO of the Community Health Care Association of New York State.
She added: “Not having the certainty of what's going to happen less than a month from now is just very difficult to do any kind of planning.”
At issue is a fund that ObamaCare created for community health centers, a non-controversial element of a politically charged law. This new pot of money accounts for about 70 percent of health centers’ federal dollars, and in 2015, Congress renewed the funds to the tune of a total of $7.2 billion over two years. >> read more