Sen. Isakson Urges Funding for Community Health Centers

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., this week urged Senate leaders to immediately reauthorize funding for community health centers. There are 135 federally qualified community health centers in the state of Georgia that rely on some financing from the Community Health Center Fund.
A two-year extension of this funding was included in the continuing resolution to fund the government  announced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday, days after this bipartisan letter was delivered to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. In their letter, Isakson and 66 of his Senate colleagues expressed their strong support for community health centers, which provide access to cost-effective primary and preventive care for families across the country.
“I am pleased to see that the continuing resolution in the U.S. House includes this important funding to help so many citizens who currently depend upon the services provided by community health centers,” said Isakson. “I remain committed to ensuring they receive the resources they need to take care of our medically underserved communities.”
The Community Health Center Fund expired on Sept. 30, 2017. The failure to reauthorize the fund has jeopardized access to care for millions of Americans and made it difficult for community health centers to adequately plan for everything from staffing needs to securing loans for capital projects.
“Community health centers serve a vital function, providing affordable health care to our nation’s most vulnerable citizens,” the senators wrote in the letter to the Senate leaders. “They provide quality medical, dental, vision and behavioral health care to more than 27 million patients, including 330,000 of our nation’s veterans and 8 million children, at over 10,000 sites nationwide.
“Without extension of the Community Health Center Fund, community health centers will lose seventy percent of their funding,” the letter continued. “This will result in an estimated 2,800 site closures, the loss of 50,000 jobs, and approximately 9 million Americans losing access to their health care.”
Isakson has urged Senate leaders to include appropriate funding in annual appropriations bills for the past several years, and he remains committed to ensuring community health centers can continue to provide high quality and affordable care to those in need.
The letter was led by Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.