WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21) applauded growing support for her legislation, the Community Health Investment, Modernization and Excellence (CHIME) Act of 2017. This legislation was introduced on September 13th and now has the bipartisan support of over 110 Members of the House of Representatives.
“I thank my colleagues for quickly rallying around this important measure to protect funding for Community Health Centers that provide critical healthcare and preventative services for families across our nation,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “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 and it’s critical this funding be extended to serve the needs of our community. I will continue working to gain support for this critical legislation and will explore all legislative paths forward to ensure this funding is passed and signed into law.”
“The day-to-day care provided by federally qualified community health centers is considered to be the life-blood of rural communities both regionally and across the country. These health centers deliver access to proactive, high quality, cost-effective health care regardless of ability to pay for tens of thousands of individuals regionally,” said Dr. Tucker Slingerland, CEO of Hudson Headwaters Health Network. “Continued funding for community health centers also translates into larger savings downstream where medical services often carry a much higher expense. We represent the forefront of innovation needed to build a more efficient and sustainable delivery system.”
Community Health Centers are the primary care medical home for more than 26 million Americans living in every state and territory. With bipartisan support from Congress, the more than 1,400 health center organizations nationwide provide access to high-quality primary and preventive care, while integrating behavioral health, dental, substance abuse and other critical services for their patients. Health Centers are a cost-effective provider of care, having been proven to save 24% in total Medicaid spending when compared to other providers.
Total funding for the Health Centers program currently stands at $5.1 billion annually. Of this total, $3.6 billion comes from the Community Health Centers Fund (CHCF), a dedicated source of funding that was extended for two years in 2015. Without action by Congress by September 30, 2017, this funding is slated to expire.
According to estimates from the Department of Human Services, a funding cut of this magnitude to the Health Centers program would result in over 9 million patients losing access to care, cost 50,000 jobs in economically hard-hit communities across the nation, and force 2,800 health center locations to shut their doors.
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