WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21) led a group of 105 Republican House Members in a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan, urging him to include Community Health Center funding in any legislation that will be passing Congress and sent to the President. Community Health Center funding expired on September 30, 2017.
“In my district alone, Community Health Centers like Hudson Headwaters Health Network, North Country Family Health Center, and the Community Health Center of the North Country serve over 95,000 patients,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “It is critical this funding be extended to serve the needs of communities across our nation, and I thank my colleagues for joining me on this effort.”
Congresswoman Stefanik is the author of the Community Health Investment, Modernization and Excellence (CHIME) Act of 2017 – bipartisan legislation to extend the Community Health Centers Fund (CHCF) for five years.
Click here for a digital copy of the lawmakers’ letter or read the text below.
February 2, 2018
The Honorable Paul Ryan
United States House of Representatives
H-232, The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Speaker Ryan,
We write to express our serious concerns over the expiration of the Community Health Centers Fund (CHCF), and to urge you to include a reauthorization of the fund as part of the next moving piece of legislation to be signed into law.
We know you are a strong supporter of community health centers and we share your concern about the disruptions they are currently facing as a result of going over the so-called “funding cliff” at the end of September 2017.
Community health centers across the United States have delivered affordable, accessible, and quality primary health care to patients, regardless of their ability to pay, for more than 50 years. They serve more than 27 million individuals in almost 10,000 urban and rural communities by caring for the whole person, bringing together medical and behavioral health with pharmacy services. As part of this work, they provide preventive care and cancer screenings, treat chronic conditions, and are on the forefront of helping fight the opioid epidemic. They also serve our nation’s veterans, providing care to over 330,000 veterans last year alone.
The CHCF accounts for 70 percent of community health centers’ federal grant funding and the lapse in reauthorization has led community health centers across the country to consider or begin taking steps to reduce their services, jeopardizing the care of some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has estimated that without reauthorized funding, approximately 2,800 health center sites would close, costing more than 50,000 jobs and endangering the health care of about 9 million patients.
The Community Health Center program is a worthwhile federal investment we can all be proud of. Thank you for your efforts to ensure sustainable and reliable funding for this vital program so community health centers can continue to provide high quality, affordable care to those who need it most.