Access to care for millions of patients nationwide depends upon Congress approving healthcare funding by the end of September. Unless Congress acts to extend health center funding by September 30, nearly seven million Community Health Center (CHC) patients will lose access to care.
Nationwide, CHCs provide accessible care to over 30 million patients, many of whom are on Medicare, Medicaid, uninsured, or unable to afford healthcare services. Post-pandemic, during a time of financial uncertainty amongst CHCs, this funding is crucial to delivering reliable, affordable, and high-quality care to communities across the country. With the population of CHC patients increasing, health centers need federal funding to continue to provide care, maintain their workforces, and meet the needs of their communities.
Health centers serve one in 11 people in the US, including one in nine children, one in six people with Medicaid, one in five people without insurance, and one in three people in poverty. Health centers serve all patients regardless of insurance status, and, with 90% of all health center patients at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), health centers are crucial to maintaining care accessibility for patients in vulnerable situations.
In 2022, NHC served over 21,000 patients in the Portland Metro area, almost 65% of whom live 200% below the federal poverty level. Affordable, accessible services available at CHCs like NHC close the gap for those who can’t afford the cost of healthcare at private clinics.
On average, health center patients are more likely to receive routine screenings and immunizations than patients at private practices and outpatient clinics, including mammograms, pap smears, colorectal cancer screenings, and flu shots. During the COVID-19 pandemic, CHCs administered over 22 million vaccines, 20 million tests, 7 million N95 masks, and almost 8 million at-home test kits.
Section 330 of the Public Health Services Act, known as the 330 Grant, provides about 70% of federal funding for CHCs. This act is set to expire on September 30 of this year, along with laws funding the government, reauthorization of pandemic preparedness programs, and renewals for substance use and mental health aid.
To support the 330 Grant which funds the Health Center Program, visit the National Association of Community Health Centers website.