Breaking News
July 19, 2018 - Deleting single gene in gut bacteria affects metabolism, reduces weight gain in mice
July 19, 2018 - Study finds major discrepancies in prescription drug labeling pregnancy information across four countries
July 19, 2018 - Cellectar’s CLR 131 Receives FDA Orphan Drug Designation for Treatment of Ewing’s Sarcoma
July 19, 2018 - Watching the immune system in action reveals what happens when things goes wrong
July 19, 2018 - Increasing blood sugar levels improves memory and performance in older adults
July 19, 2018 - Connection between self-regulation and obesity appears to be different for girls and boys
July 19, 2018 - Researchers develop new, less destructive method for whitening teeth
July 19, 2018 - Revving up innate control of viral infection requires a three-cell ignition
July 19, 2018 - Inaccurate direct-to-consumer raw genetic data can harm patients, new research suggests
July 19, 2018 - Weight loss surgery is effective under the right situations
July 19, 2018 - BioTek awarded patent for autofocus feature on microplate reader
July 19, 2018 - Low-carb diets reduce stiffness of arteries in women and promote weight loss in men
July 19, 2018 - New review examines cannabinoids’ potential for direct treatment of cancer
July 19, 2018 - Allergic responses may help protect the skin against cancer, research suggests
July 19, 2018 - Inappropriate Prescribing of Abx High in Urgent Care Centers
July 19, 2018 - Many at risk for HIV despite lifesaving pill
July 19, 2018 - Tips for doctors and parents on the harms of marijuana use for teens
July 18, 2018 - Researchers detect presence of IgE antibodies after kidney transplantation
July 18, 2018 - New technique allows researchers to create large scale, personalized bone grafts
July 18, 2018 - Smoking May Boost Atrial Fibrillation Risk
July 18, 2018 - Genome editing method targets AIDS virus
July 18, 2018 - These things matter: Medical complications are not inevitable, a physician writes
July 18, 2018 - Cognitive functions often wilt as water departs the body, shows study
July 18, 2018 - Origins of bread found 14,400 years ago in Jordan
July 18, 2018 - Low-dose ketamine found to be as effective as opioids for treating acute pain
July 18, 2018 - Novel bioengineering technique could help repair bone defects
July 18, 2018 - Researchers identify new potential target protein for colon cancer
July 18, 2018 - Air pollution contributes significantly to diabetes globally
July 18, 2018 - Cell membrane’s importance offers new strategy to fight infections
July 18, 2018 - Researchers identify key protein involved in irregular brain cell activity
July 18, 2018 - 3D modeling of drug resistance could lead to more effective cancer treatment
July 18, 2018 - Hunger hormones could be key to new treatments for drug, alcohol addiction
July 18, 2018 - Nitrate-cured meats may contribute to mania, study finds
July 18, 2018 - Why men may recover more quickly from influenza infections than women
July 18, 2018 - Study finds discharge against medical advice as predictor of readmissions in heart attack patients
July 18, 2018 - KemPharm Announces Top Line Results from KP415.E01 Efficacy and Safety Trial in Children With ADHD
July 18, 2018 - Self-control and obesity: Gender matters in children
July 18, 2018 - Bioengineers, diabetes researchers convene to discuss future concepts for precision medicine
July 18, 2018 - New findings support more conservative use of ED neuroimaging for non-index seizures
July 18, 2018 - Practicing yoga benefits pregnant women, study suggests
July 18, 2018 - New strategy may lead to more accurate breast cancer diagnoses
July 18, 2018 - FDA Approves Symtuza (D/C/F/TAF), the First and Only Complete Darunavir-Based Single-Tablet Regimen for the Treatment of HIV-1 Infection
July 18, 2018 - New guide helps hospitals pick right partner to handle hospitalist services
July 18, 2018 - Deep data dive helps predict cerebral palsy
July 18, 2018 - Stricter firearm legislation associated with reduced murder and suicide rates
July 18, 2018 - Physical and sexual abuse in childhood associated with endometriosis risk
July 18, 2018 - Omega 3 supplements do not reduce risk of heart disease, stroke or death
July 18, 2018 - GSA’s new publication provides support for safe use of OTC analgesics by older adults
July 18, 2018 - Researchers receive grant from U.S. Department of Education to study children with HFASD
July 18, 2018 - Early childhood adversity increases sensitivity of the body’s immune response to cocaine
July 18, 2018 - Parental incarceration affects health behaviors of children in adulthood
July 18, 2018 - Researchers find that yellow fever and Asian tiger mosquitoes can carry new virus
July 18, 2018 - Two Regimens Fail to Stop Declines in β-Cell Function
July 18, 2018 - Researchers apply computing power to track the spread of cancer
July 18, 2018 - Olfactory receptors play pathophysiological role in all organs than merely smell perception
July 18, 2018 - Fish consumption associated with lower risk of early death
July 18, 2018 - MR Solutions’ 7T MRI imaging system installed at University of Hawaii
July 18, 2018 - Humorous ads screened around World Cup game achieve higher biometric response than sporty ads
July 18, 2018 - New study demonstrates little effect of hormone therapy on artery thickness
July 18, 2018 - A 3-Pronged Plan to Cut Type 2 Diabetes Risk
July 18, 2018 - New clues to sepsis may speed diagnosis
July 18, 2018 - Stars of Stanford Medicine: Improving cardiovascular health in Africa and beyond
July 18, 2018 - Heart attack risk continues to increase among pregnant women, study finds
July 18, 2018 - Few tips to help avoid sunburns in summer
July 18, 2018 - High-fat diet and systemic inflammation contribute to progression of prostate cancer
July 18, 2018 - Researchers develop 3D map of gene interactions that play key role in heart disease
July 18, 2018 - Conservative management of lung subsolid nodules reduces overtreatment and unnecessary surgery
July 18, 2018 - Report warns of dog illness that can spread to owners
July 18, 2018 - A winning essayist’s tips for keeping track of scientific facts
July 18, 2018 - Researchers seek to understand role of APOE mutation in Alzheimer’s disease
July 18, 2018 - Animal studies reveal brain changes responsible for appetite effects of cannabis
July 18, 2018 - New ZEISS ZEN Intellesis machine allows segmentation of correlative microscopy
July 18, 2018 - Study findings highlight importance of early detection of SMA through newborn screening
July 18, 2018 - Results of Phase III (PIX306) Trial Evaluating Progression-Free Survival of Pixuvri (pixantrone) Combined with Rituximab in Patients with Aggressive B-cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
July 18, 2018 - Diabetes researchers find switch for fatty liver disease
July 18, 2018 - The future of the microbiome: A conversation
July 18, 2018 - States attacking ACA would hurt most if shield on preexisting conditions were axed
July 18, 2018 - Novel delivery system for bacteriophages could offer new way to battle lung infections
July 18, 2018 - PTSD may increase risk of stroke, heart attack in World Trade Center response crews
July 18, 2018 - Finding the right protective eyewear for young athletes

Congress’ cold shoulder sends shivers through community health centers

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

One community health center in New York has frozen hiring. Another in Missouri can’t get a bank loan to expand.

The nation’s 1,400 community health centers are carefully watching expenses in case the financial rescue they hope Congress delivers this week doesn’t arrive. With four days left in the government’s fiscal year, Congress has not voted on reauthorizing billions of dollars now going to community health centers and other health programs for the 2018 budget year that starts Sunday.

“The anxiety level is increasing on almost a daily basis,” said Dan Hawkins, senior vice president of the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) in Washington, D.C. “There is broad support and agreement in Congress that it should get done, but we are working against a ticking clock and a crowded legislative calendar.”

For the past two weeks, the GOP’s scramble to repeal the Affordable Care Act before the month ends pushed other health care matters off the congressional agenda. That effort ended Tuesday when Senate Republicans said they would not seek a vote this week because they lacked enough support to pass the bill.

Use Our Content
This KHN story can be republished for free (details).

It’s not clear if lawmakers’ lighter agenda will now leave room for funding health centers or deciding other issues, such as renewing the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which also expires Saturday. At a hearing Monday, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) urged his colleagues to work with the Senate’s health committee to settle the matter. NACHC officials privately express optimism that a deal might come later in October if not by Sunday.

Community health centers operate in more than 9,500 locations, serving 27 million people, according to the NACHC. They are the main source of health care for many low-income Americans — and the only source of primary care in many underserved areas.

Health centers provide preventive care, counseling, dentistry and primary care to everyone, whether or not they can pay. A sliding fee scale based on income and family size is available to patients without insurance.

In 2015, nearly 1 in 6 Medicaid beneficiaries received health center services, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported this year. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the foundation.)

“The end result is these are people who will be locked out of health care” without new funding, Hawkins said.

Community health centers gained billions of dollars in federal revenue under the ACA, which created a special trust fund to support them from 2011 through 2015. The Community Health Center Fund was extended in 2015 for two years with an additional $3.6 billion annually.

That money represents 70 percent of all federal grants to health centers and about a fifth of their annual revenue. Medicaid reimbursements account for the largest share, about 40 percent.

One beneficiary is Pamela Richardson, a 60-year-old patient of Valley Community Healthcare in North Hollywood, Calif., who suffers from an iron absorption disorder called hereditary hemochromatosis. She was unable to get health insurance before Obamacare prohibited insurers from excluding people with preexisting medical conditions. The clinic helped her sign up for coverage through the Medi-Cal expansion.

Once Richardson was covered, she received long-delayed primary care, which revealed she had “scary high” blood pressure and a lump in one breast (which proved benign). “When you don’t have insurance you don’t get breast exams. You don’t have Pap smears,” she told a KHN reporter earlier this year. “I wish people had a little more patience with Obamacare. Once you get what’s wrong with you under control, the cost would come down.”

California has by far the most federally funded health centers and they serve 6.2 million Californians, according to CaliforniaHealth+ Advocates, which represents state clinics. They have received over $1.6 billion from 2011 through 2016 from the Community Health Center Fund, more than any other state, the Congressional Research Service reported in January.

If health centers receive no new funds for 2018, the ensuing financial crunch would cost 51,000 jobs, force the centers to close 2,800 locations and cause 9 million people to lose health care services, according to a budget document that the Health and Human Services Department gave Congress in July.

Uncertainty about what Congress will do now is already causing problems. Hawkins said his members call him and his staff every day, fretting about employment contracts, lease agreements and equipment rentals that run past Oct. 1.

Neighborhood Health in Nashville, Tenn., has federal grant money that will carry it through Jan. 31, but CEO Mary Bufwack said some of her 180 staff members live paycheck to paycheck and are getting nervous about Neighborhood’s stability.

Bufwack is worried the health center won’t receive money it needs to replace a clinic, a project now being planned.

She fears that a new doctor she recruited to join Neighborhood next June will take another job before she can get his signature on an employment contract. And she doesn’t want to do that until she’s sure about her budget.

Mostly, she worries that whatever Congress gives her will be only for one year.

“We’re already worried about next Sept. 30,” Bufwack said.


http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

About author