Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Increase in Funding for Community Health Centers
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Senate Appropriations Committee has reported the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education spending bill for fiscal year 2013 (FY 2013). The bill funds the Health Centers program at a total programmatic level of $3.1 billion for FY 2013. This represents a $300 million increase in funding from FY 2012 and will allow health centers to expand access to primary and preventive health services nationwide, if passed by the House and Senate.
Currently, over 700 new health center site applications remain unfunded from last year. These are medically underserved communities with no health center and a documented shortage of providers. The increased funding recommended in the committee bill would address this issue. Additionally, the bill directs that the entire $300 million funding increase be used this year, providing for the expansion of care to 2.5 million new patients in new communities as well as through expanded service capacity at existing health centers. The President’s budget request had recommended saving $280 million of the increase for future spending.
“We are thankful the Committee recognizes the critical role of health centers as an accessible and cost-effective source of primary care services in America’s underserved communities,” said Tom Van Coverden, President and CEO of the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). “We especially appreciate that the committee directs that the full increased funding of $300 million is used this year for much-needed health center services. In addition, the committee bill additionally provides $48 million in base grant adjustments, which will enable existing health centers to keep pace with operational needs. The bill brings us one step closer to the goal of expanding access to millions of people who today have no primary care medical home. We will continue to work with Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to ensure the long-term stability of the Health Centers program.”
Note: The Senate Appropriations Committee bill consists of nearly $1.6 billion in discretionary funds for Health Centers in FY 2013, which is in addition to the $1.5 billion previously allocated under the Affordable Care Act for the program. Of the nearly $1.6 billion allocation, $48 million will go towards base grant adjustments for existing health centers. The funding for Health Centers within the ACA is scheduled to end in fiscal year 2015.
Founded in 1970, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance and expand access to quality, community-responsive health care for America’s medically underserved and uninsured. NACHC represents the nation’s network of over 1,200 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), which serve over 20 million people through over 8,000 sites located