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Day two of David Pecker testimony wraps in NY Trump trial; Supreme Court hears arguments on Idaho's near-total abortion ban; ND sees a flurry of campaigning among Native candidates; and NH lags behind other states in restricting firearms at polling sites.

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The Senate moves forward with a foreign aid package. A North Carolina judge overturns an aged law penalizing released felons. And child protection groups call a Texas immigration policy traumatic for kids.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

FL health centers face financial strain without Medicaid reimbursement increase

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Friday, February 9, 2024   

Florida's Community Health Centers are raising concerns about their own financial health due to what they've said are inadequate Medicaid reimbursement rates.

The centers are urging lawmakers to adjust the rates to cover what they've found to be a gap of $106, or just over 42%, for every Medicaid patient visit.

Bradley Herremans, CEO of Suncoast Community Health Centers in Hillsborough County, said filling the funding gap could enable them to expand services and even open new clinics, while failure to do so would force them to curtail or close some services, disproportionately affecting low-income populations.

"The population is just growing exponentially around here, and that just drives the additional need for additional services," Herremans explained. "You can kind of see where you start to get that 'crunch,' between revenue and what's expected of a Community Health Center."

Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, president of the Senate, achieved unanimous passage of her "Live Healthy" proposal, Senate Bill 7016, touted as a plan to increase the state's health-care workforce. Health centers are optimistic lawmakers will address funding gaps in budget negotiations between the House and Senate.

Jonathan Chapman, president and CEO of the Florida Association of Community Health Centers, said they comprise 54 centers spanning over 800 locations. He does not expect any one entity to make them whole.

"We're looking at a $40 million 'ask' of state recurring funds," Chapman pointed out. "This would also be leveraged with federal dollars, so with the state's $40 million investment, we would actually leverage that and it would be close to a $100 million investment, which really equates to about $22 per FQHC patient."

FQHCs are Federally Qualified Health Centers. Annually, Chapman said the centers provide care to 1.8 million patients, with 51% covered by Medicare or Medicaid, and 28% uninsured. He added more than 87% of patients served by Community Health Centers live below the Federal Poverty Level.

Disclosure: The Florida Association of Community Health Centers contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues, Mental Health, and Poverty Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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