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Primary Care Funding Cliff

2017 Primary Care Funding Cliff

Over the past decade Congressional leadership from both parties has recognized the cost-effective care Federally Qualified Health Centers (also known as Community Health Centers) provide locally in communities across the country.

George W. Bush doubled the Community Health Center program during his administration.
Congress invested in expanding health centers to meet the demand for primary and prevent care through the Affordable care Act from FY 2011-FY2015.
In 2015, Congress showed its continued commitment to the health center program by maintaining mandatory funding through the Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). 
Unless further action is taken, that mandatory funding of $3.6 billion is scheduled to expire on September 30, 2017.

Today, the Community Health Centers Program faces a 70% loss of federal funding equal to $3.6 Billion. (see Table 1, above).


Estimated North Carolina Impacts of FY 2017 Health Center Funding Cliff:

A loss of $69 million in federal funding to North Carolina Community Health Centers
More than 20% reduction in the number of patients we could serve – more than 100,0000  patients will lose access to care.
More than 1,000 jobs lost at community health centers in North Carolina
Potential loss of additional private funding because CHCs use federal funds to leverage funding from other sources.

North Carolina’s Federally Qualified Health Centers (also known as community health centers, or CHCs) are private, nonprofit, community-based organizations that provide primary care – regardless of ability to pay – to 483,000 patients. Community health centers are led by majority consumer boards, serve medically underserved populations, and address the needs of their local communities. Sixty-nine percent of North Carolina CHC patients earn less than 200% of the federal poverty guidelines ($23,540 for an individual) and 41% are uninsured. In addition to the uninsured, they serve Medicaid (26%), Medicare (13%), private pay patients (15%).

Download a PDF of our 2017 Funding Cliff Policy Brief here.


This has happened before: Read about the 2015 Funding Cliff below.

The Health Center Trust Fund is the largest source of federal funding for Community Health Centers (CHCs). It was scheduled to expire at the end of FY 2015 (September 30, 2015).  If Congress had not legislated new or continued funding for Community Health Centers through HR-2, the Medicare "doc fix" bill, it could have resulted in a 70% drop in federal funding for CHCs. In addition, 100% of federal funding for the National Health Services Corps (NHSC) and the Teaching Health Centers Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) programs would have expired at the same time. Together with the loss of funding for Community Health Centers, there would have been drastic impacts on the availability of services and providers for rural and medically underserved populations in North Carolina and the rest of the country.

Materials and More Information

Background

On March 26, 2015, the US House of Representatives passed HR-2, the SGR “Doc Fix” which includes vital two-year extensions of funding for Health Centers and the National Health Service Corps, as well as funding for Teaching Health Centers. NACHC Statement on passage of the bill. The legislation was then approved by the Senate on April 14, 2015. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law. NACHC statement on enactment of HR-2 is available here.

Thank your US Representatives for supporting this legislation:

 

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