The Association Notes the Transformative Impact HB 149 Will Have on Patient Care and CHC Operations
The North Carolina Community Health Center Association applauds the N.C. Senate’s passage of HB 149, which would expand Medicaid coverage to hundreds of thousands of uninsured North Carolinians and strengthen the state’s Community Health Centers (CHCs), which provide comprehensive primary care services in rural and medically underserved communities without regard to patients’ ability to pay.
Medicaid expansion is the single most transformative state policy the N.C. General Assembly can enact to increase health care access and strengthen the primary care safety net. “Not only will Medicaid expansion help Community Health Centers enhance and expand the services we provide to medically underserved communities, but it will also enable hundreds of thousands of our state’s residents to live healthier lives with more secure access to the care they need,” said Reuben C. Blackwell, IV, President and CEO of OIC of Rocky Mount and Chair of the NCCHCA Board of Directors. “For the sake of our patients and our health care providers, it’s crucial that the North Carolina General Assembly take this important step of expanding Medicaid.”
Statewide, 40 percent of CHC patients are uninsured, while uninsured rates for individual health centers are as high as 70 to 80 percent. When CHCs lack reimbursement for the essential services they provide, it strains their operating budgets and prevents them from expanding their capacity to reach more patients. Expanding Medicaid would also save patients the burden of living with worsening health conditions because they fear the cost of seeking treatment.
In addition to improving health care access and outcomes for patients, Medicaid expansion would generate increased revenue for CHCs, enabling them to hire more clinical staff, extend the availability of services into new areas of the state, and expand needed programs, such as addiction treatment, mobile medical units, and dental services.
We applaud the N.C. Senate for this historic action and call on N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore and the rest of the N.C. House delegation to pass Medicaid expansion to deliver the health care solutions that are vitally important to the health and economic well-being of our state.