Community health centers are likely to lay off staff, close clinic sites and reduce or eliminate services if Congress fails to extend a critical source of funding by Sept. 30, concludes a new report. The report was produced by researchers at the Geiger Gibson/RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH).
The Community Health Center Fund provides financial support for community health centers nationwide, accounting for 72 percent of all federal grant funding received by health centers. These funds allow community health centers to serve patients without health insurance, and to provide care not covered by public or private insurance.
Community health centers were surveyed on how they would handle a delay of funding. Their responses, summarized in the report, found nearly 60 percent said they had instituted or were considering a hiring freeze; over four in 10 health centers had or were considering reducing staff hours or laying off staff members; and about one-third said they had or were considering reducing operating hours.
“These findings underscore the serious consequences for patients, communities and health centers if the fund is not extended,” said Ms. Sara Rosenbaum, the Harold and Jane Hirsh Professor of Health Law and Policy at Milken Institute SPH, one of the authors of the analysis.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on September 13