We are less than month away from the Health Center Funding Cliff becoming a reality.
If Congress fails to act to fix the cliff before September 30th, Mountain Family Health Centers will face a 100% reduction in funding, because there aren’t any other funding bills in Congress for Federally Qualified Health Centers. “In Garfield, Eagle, Pitkin, and Rio Blanco counties, more than 6,200 Mountain Family patients, who are uninsured, are at risk of losing access to high quality, affordable care at Mountain Family,” stated Mountain Family’s CEO Ross Brooks this week.
Despite ongoing efforts by Health Center advocates to press for clear plans to fix the cliff, as well as quick action so that health centers can continue operations without fear of severe funding reductions, Congress has given little public indication as to its plans to pass a timely and long-term extension of funding by the September 30th deadline.
As of Thursday, September 7th, there are only 10 working legislative days in the House, and 15 in the Senate. Time is running out. Without sufficient pressure from advocates here in Colorado and across the country, Mountain Family Health Centers is concerned that Congress will not address the cliff by the end of the Fiscal Year, or that Congress will undertake a very short-term extension of funding until December. Both scenarios have major negative implications for the stability of the nationwide Health Center network, which today cares for more than 27 million patients. Our ask to Congress is simple: act immediately to fix the health center funding cliff and preserve funding at current levels. In addition, we are strongly advocating that Congress extend this crucial funding for at least five years, providing – at a minimum – current funding levels to maintain services and stability of care.
You can ask Congress for action today by clicking on this link: http://p2a.co/QeTSMmP
Unfortunately, this is not an advocacy drill. The US Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has estimated that, if left unaddressed, the funding cliff could mean closure of 2,800 Health Center sites, cost more than 51,000 jobs, and lead to the loss of access to care for more than 9 million patients.
With one month to go, Congress has waited long enough. We cannot allow access to care to be put at risk. It’s time for Congress to do its job and fix the health center funding cliff and it’s time for Health Center advocates to take action and send a message to Congress that can’t be ignored.