U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) met with International Community Health Services (ICHS) CEO Teresita Batayola and Anita Monoian, CEO of Yakima Neighborhood Health Services, last week (Jan. 21) to discuss continued funding for the nation’s community health centers.
The focus of the meeting was the impending “Health Center Funding Cliff,” a term that refers to the end of the mandatory funding of Community Health Centers (CHCs), as provided by the Affordable Care Act, at the end of fiscal year 2015. If and when this occurs, CHCs nationwide will see their federal funding cut by 70 percent. CHC leaders nationwide have been meeting with key Congressional leaders to urge protection of funding for community health centers.
“We are seeking Sen. Murray’s help in defending these vital funds that allow our state’s community health centers to remain open and provide health care to thousands of needy and underserved Washingtonians,” said Batayola, who previously served as president of Washington Association of Community and Migrant Health Centers. “We want Congress to prioritize solving this issue and fix this ‘health center funding cliff’ that has placed the state’s 26 community health centers in peril.”
Congress faces a Sept. 30 deadline for fix the Health Center Funding Cliff.
During their meeting with Sen. Murray, Batayola and Monoian argued for protecting funding for CHCs, stressing that:
— Community health centers are a sound investment. They have a long history of bipartisan support and have been shown to result in health care cost savings and improve access to primary care.
— Access to primary and preventive care remains a problem for many, despite enactment of the Affordable Care Act. CHCs play a key role in getting residents to access health care close to where they live.
— Thousands of people — patients, medical providers, clinic staff — depend on CHCs for their health care and livelihood, and would be best served by guaranteed funding for community health centers.
For more information about ICHS, please visit: www.ichs.com
Photo caption: U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash), (center), met with International Community Health Services CEO Teresita Batayola (left) and Yakima Neighborhood Health Services CEO Anita Monoian on Jan. 21 to discuss protecting federal funding for the nation’s community health centers.
Founded in 1973, ICHS is a non-profit community health center offering affordable primary medical and dental care, acupuncture, laboratory, pharmacy, behavioral health WIC, and health education services. ICHS’ four full-service medical and dental clinics — located in Seattle’s International District and Holly Park neighborhoods; and in the cities of Bellevue and Shoreline — serve over 20,000 patients each year. As the only community health center in Washington primarily serving Asians and Pacific Islanders, ICHS provides care in over 50 languages and dialects annually. ICHS is committed to improving the health of medically underserved communities by providing affordable and in-language health care. For more information, please visit: www.ichs.com