WASHINGTON – As community health centers nationwide brace for their Congressional funding to expire on November 17, Advocates for Community Health (ACH)—a member-driven organization working to advance forward-thinking federal policies—led more than 500 health care organizations in urging Congress to fund the Community Health Center (CHC) Reauthorization at $5.8 billion per year for three years. In a letter delivered to Congressional leadership, national and local organizations representing 49 states and all five territories called on lawmakers to ensure continued access to care for over 31 million patients.
Through their collective voice, signers of the letter are asking Congress to reauthorize the Community Health Center Trust Fund at the funding level requested in the Senate’s Bipartisan Primary Care and Health Workforce Act. Both the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Senate Health, Labor, Education, and Pensions (HELP) Committee have reported out bipartisan Community Health Center Fund reauthorizations that increase funding for community health centers. Further, the Lower Costs, More Transparency Act, H.R. 5378, a bipartisan health care package from the House Committees on Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Education and Workforce, also reauthorizes the health center fund with a significant increase in funding.
“At this time of unprecedented financial challenges for health centers, it is critical that the Community Health Center Fund be reauthorized at the highest possible level,” said ACH CEO Amanda Pears Kelly. “We are grateful to the more than 500 national health care organizations, state primary care associations, and community health centers that joined our advocacy efforts and to our bipartisan champions in Congress who have been instrumental in moving legislation forward in both chambers. Health centers cannot continue to operate in this cycle of uncertainty, and we need Congress to act now and provide comprehensive, long-term funding.”
As the nation’s largest primary care network, 1,400 community health centers play a crucial part in providing high-quality care to underserved populations, and they have always had strong, bipartisan support. They serve as the backbone of our local healthcare infrastructure, offering vital services ranging from primary care and preventive medicine to dental and mental health services. Health centers ensure that individuals and families, regardless of their ability to pay, have access to high-quality healthcare in their own neighborhoods.
Through collaborative efforts with policymakers, healthcare professionals, and community leaders, ACH has been advocating for substantial investments to enhance the capacity and capabilities of health centers. Without the backstop of the CHC Fund, health centers would be forced to close sites, lay off staff, and cut back service hours. Without the certainty that this Fund will be available in the coming years, it is more difficult to finance large projects or engage in meaningful long-term planning. Increased funding will enable community health centers to expand their services, hire more skilled professionals, upgrade their facilities, and adopt advanced technologies, ultimately improving the overall health and well-being of the communities they serve.
The benefits of investing in community health centers will have a significant impact on health care. By increasing access to healthcare services, these centers can significantly reduce the burden on emergency rooms, improve health outcomes, and contribute to the overall vitality of our communities. Furthermore, they play a pivotal role in promoting preventive care, managing chronic illnesses, and addressing healthcare disparities, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to lead a healthy life.
About Advocates for Community Health
Advocates for Community Health (ACH) is a membership organization for federally qualified health centers that strives to advance the delivery of health care to underserved populations and to achieve health equity for patients and communities in need. We are committed to working collaboratively to advance well-defined and forward-thinking policies at the national level. By leveraging the wisdom, agility, and innovation of our members, ACH brings bold leadership to drive change in the American healthcare system. To learn more, visit www.advocatesforcommunityhealth.org or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.