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Uncovering America's methamphetamine history; PA Early Intervention programs vital for child development; measuring long-term impact of the O.J. Simpson trial on media literacy.

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President Biden's name could be left off the ballot in Alabama and Ohio, the Justice Dept. mandates background checks for gun show purchases, and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds moves to allow state police to arrest undocumented migrants.

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Housing advocates fear rural low-income folks who live in aging USDA housing could be forced out, small towns are eligible for grants to enhance civic participation, and North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues.

Community health leaders press Congress for more stable funding

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Monday, February 12, 2024   

Community Health Center leaders are pleading with Congress to pass a budget deal by March 8 to avoid a partial government shutdown - arguing that the uncertainty around funding makes it difficult to function.

Funding issues are expected to dominate discussion at the annual National Association of Community Health Centers Policy and Issues Forum in Washington D.C. - which starts today.

Kimberly Chang is a family physician at Asian Health Services in Oakland, who also serves as the Speaker of the House for the NACHC's executive board.

"Well, when you don't have a stable funding path and you're relying on Continuing Resolutions," said Chang, "it's so challenging to make plans for hiring additional staff and employ those initiatives to support the increased demand for our services. And we would never turn a patient away."

Community Health Centers are clinics that see patients no matter their insurance status or ability to pay.

They also face a shortage of primary care doctors, plus inflation and a fluctuating patient population as people are dropped from the Medicaid rolls after the pandemic.

The U.S. House and Senate both have bills that would increase funding for the centers, but they're tied up in budget negotiations that have dragged on since last fall.

Paloma Hernandez is president and CEO at Urban Health Plan, and is the chair of the NACHC's board. She pointed out that Community Health Centers are the country's largest primary care network.

"Many of us provide oral health, behavioral health, pharmacy services, specialty services," said Hernandez, "and then, we provide lots of related services that address some of the social drivers of health."

Community Health Centers helped more than 31 million people in 2022 - at 15,000 clinics that employ close to 300,000 people.

California alone has more than 2,300 clinics, serving 5.6 million patients.



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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