Advocates urge Congress to act now to ensure access to comprehensive care for millions of Americans in need
WASHINGTON – Join Advocates for Community Health (ACH) and the National Press Club on Tuesday, February 1 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET for a virtual briefing with community health center leaders from across the country as they share the challenges their overstretched workforce is facing and urge leaders in Washington to take action to invest in immediate and long-term solutions. With 1 in 11 Americans getting their health care from community health centers, funding to support their workforce is more important now than ever before.
Federally qualified community health centers (FQHCs) have a decades-long record of providing comprehensive care to nearly 30 million patients in underserved communities nationwide each year. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, these hyper-local health care hubs have been instrumental in providing testing, vaccinations, and continued comprehensive care for populations in need. They employ more than 250,000 people, spur local economies, and save the health care system $24 billion annually.
In 2021, health centers administered more than 13 million vaccines and 12 million COVID tests, the majority of which were delivered to BIPOC communities, and these numbers continue to climb daily. Beyond this, health centers bring preventative services and comprehensive care to uninsured/underinsured, low-income, rural, and marginalized communities that often have no alternative source for medical care. These organizations employ a diverse workforce that reflects the communities they serve and that workforce—like health care staff nationwide—is overstretched and experiencing extreme burnout.
Amanda Ascher, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Sun River Health
Kerry L. Hydash, MPA, President & CEO, Family HealthCare Network
Parinda Khatri, PhD, Chief Clinical Officer, Cherokee Health Systems
Amanda Pears Kelly, CEO, Advocates for Community Health and Executive Director, Association of Clinicians for the Underserved
WHAT: This virtual briefing will include remarks from each health center leader, a moderated discussion, and live Q&A. Credentialed media can register to attend here. Members of the media interested in securing an interview with any of the panelists can reach Danielle Veira at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHEN: Tuesday, February 1 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EST.
Additional information: A recent report from Capital Link predicted that, based on patient growth trends, FQHCs are on track to serve up to 38.5 million patients in 2025. For these services to meet our quality standards, health centers would need to invest approximately $17.5 billion over the next five years to adequately serve patients and also maintain system capacity.
The Build Back Better Act includes critical funding for health center infrastructure and workforce development, including $2B for health center infrastructure, $3.37B in Teaching Health Center GME, $2B for the National Health Service Corps, and $200M for the Nurse Corps. While this is much less than health centers need to ensure millions of Americans have life-saving healthcare access, it could serve as a foundational investment with proven record of return. Unfortunately, with the current legislative environment in Washington, this bill is unlikely to move forward and urgent funding for health centers is hanging in the balance.
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About Advocates for Community Health
Advocates for Community Health is a membership organization for large, 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 about membership and partnership opportunities, visit www.advocatesforcommunityhealth.org.