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Federal funding cliff could cause health safety net clinics to shrink by one-quarter
Date:6/18/2014

the high-quality primary care that can prevent many expensive health conditions from getting worse or developing in the first place."

The report estimates the combined impact of two key policy decisions on health center revenues and patient capacity: the level of core federal grant funding for health centers; and state Medicaid expansions. The Affordable Care Act set aside $11 billion in "mandatory" funding to expand health centers, but this special fund is set to expire after 2015. If this special funding is not continued, health centers would be forced to scale back their services at a time when the need for primary care is growing.

Another factor that can affect health center capacity is whether states expand Medicaid, the single largest source of revenue for community health centers. About half of all states are currently expanding Medicaid; the other half has either opted out of the expansion or is still considering the decision. Were the opt-out states to expand Medicaid coverage, this would provide a major boost to health centers' patient capacity.

On the other hand, under a scenario in which Congress maintains higher direct funding for health centers and all states expand Medicaid, the number of patients served can be expected to rise to 36.5 million by 2020, as health centers continue to add community sites, services and staff. Such an expansion would particularly benefit residents of medically underserved urban and rural communities who otherwise lack ready access to primary care services, especially adults with serious and chronic health conditions that can be cared for in primary care settings, women of childbearing age, children and the low-income elderly.

"Community health centers can only fulfill the promise of health reform if they have the resources to provide much-needed care to our nation's most vulnerable populations," said Feygele Jacobs, president and CEO of the RCHN Community Health Foundation. "Both
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Contact: Kathy Fackelmann
kfackelmann@gwu.edu
202-994-8354
George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health

Susan Lamontagne
susan@publicinterestmedia.com
631-899-3825
RCHN Community Health Foundation


Source:Eurekalert  

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