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Biden administration moves to protect Alaska wilderness; opening statements and first witness in NY trial; SCOTUS hears Starbucks case, with implications for unions on the line; rural North Carolina town gets pathway to home ownership.

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The Supreme Court weighs cities ability to manage a growing homelessness crisis, anti-Israeli protests spread to college campuses nationwide, and more states consider legislation to ban firearms at voting sites and ballot drop boxes.

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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.

Community health center leaders examine primary care crisis

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Monday, February 12, 2024   

Community health center leaders from New York and across the nation are meeting in Washington this week. They'll be strategizing about how to address the country's primary-care crisis.

This means examining solutions to workforce shortages, inflationary costs and other issues. New York ranked sixth on a report's top ten listing of states with high medically disenfranchised populations.

Paloma Hernandez, board chair for the National Association of Community Health Centers, noted that workforce issues need serious attention.

"After the pandemic, with the COVID funding ending, many of us faced a lot of challenges in just being able to recruit and retain staff," said Hernandez. "So providers, the primary-care provider shortage is very real to us."

While Congress has approved short-term stopgap measures to fund the federal government, Hernandez said she hopes to see long-term funding sustain necessary programs.

Bipartisan legislation is pending in both chambers of Congress to increase health-center funding and key workforce programs. Now, it's up to lawmakers to reach an agreement.

Losing health-care coverage post-pandemic has only made things worse. People automatically enrolled in Medicaid during the pandemic were dropped when the public health emergency ended.

Hernandez said this leaves health centers in a predicament.

"There are so many people who were covered with insurance during the pandemic, and now they're in the process of having to reapply and many of them falling off the rolls," said Hernandez. "So, we have people who need care, we don't have enough providers to provide the care that we have."

An Association of American Medical Colleges Report finds demand for primary-care physicians will grow faster than supply.

By 2034, the report finds the shortage will range from almost 38,000 to 124,000 physicians.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has called for expanding primary-care access and increasing Medicaid rates for providers participating in the Patient-Centered Medical Homes care model.



Disclosure: National Association of Community Health Centers contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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