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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. But that was at risk for longer than usual this time: Community Health Centers went over the funding cliff at the end of September, 2017, and funding was not extended until February of 2018.

Community Health Centers face the same precarious funding reauthorization process in 2019. Congress must renew funding by September 30, 2019.

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.

In 2015, the Community Health Centers Program faced a 70% loss of federal funding equal to $3.6 Billion nationally.

This would have meant a loss of $84 million in federal funding to North Carolina Community Health Centers.

This also would have equaled more than 20% reduction in the number of patients we could serve – more than 115,0000  patients would lose access to care.

If Congress had not renewed funding, North Carolina would have suffered the following:

  • More than 1,500 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.

COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER FUNDING FY 2010 - FY 2020

 

 

Estimated North Carolina Impacts of FY 2019 Health Center Funding Cliff

A loss of $92 million in federal funding to North Carolina Community Health Centers

More than 30% reduction in the number of patients we could serve – more than 167,0000 patients will lose access to care

Potential loss of additional private funding because CHCs use federal funds to leverage funding from other sources

More than 1,000 jobs lost at community health centers in North Carolina

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 546,000 patients in 2017. Community health centers are led by majority consumer boards, serve medically underserved populations, and address the needs of their local communities. In 2017, ninety-two percent of North Carolina CHC patients earned less than 200% of the federal poverty guidelines and 43% are uninsured. In addition to the uninsured, CHCs serve Medicaid (25%), Medicare (13%), private pay patients (19%).

546,000 patients of North Carolina

92%

Earn less than 200% of the federal poverty guidelines

43%

Are uninsured

25%

Medicaid

13%

Medicare

19%

Private pay patients

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 included 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 signed the bill into law.