For more than 50 years, New York’s Community Health Centers have provided high-quality primary and preventive health care services to anyone, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. As we celebrate National Health Center Week, we are mindful of the fact that our means of providing these critical services is currently at risk.
Unless Congress acts before September 30, the 800 Community Health Centers represented by CHCANYS in New York State stand to lose more than $182 million. Our health centers rely on that funding to keep their doors open for the 2.3 million patients they serve statewide.
Community Health Centers are located in areas that might not otherwise have a doctor’s office. They provide services that keep people healthy and out of the hospital. In addition to primary care, they offer dental, vision, and behavioral health services – like substance use treatment or a psychologist or some other therapist. They also have special staff dedicated to caring for kids and pregnant women. What’s more, they are governed by a community-based board of directors, the majority of whom are patients of that health center.
As we approach the 2020 elections, the subject of how to fix America’s health care crisis continues to be a major and divisive issue, largely split down party lines. Incredibly, for more than five decades and through both Republican- and Democratic-led administrations, Congress has consistently seen the value of investing in Community Health Centers.
As health centers across the state celebrate this important week, we have a message for our representatives in Washington: Fix the funding cliff now and authorize increased funding for five years.The health and well-being of the people you were elected to serve depends on your ability to put politics aside, do what’s right, and support Community Health Centers before it’s too late.