SC Community Health Centers Join National Leaders for Policy & Issues Forum

posted on Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Community Health Center (CHC) leadership and staff joined national leaders and partners in public health and the health care industry at the 2015 National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) Policy & Issues (P&I) Forum in Washington DC March 18-22. This year marked the 50th Anniversary Year of the CHC program. Attendees celebrated the proud CHC history with many of the pioneers whose vision created the health center model. Among the attendees was H. Jack Geiger, a doctor and civil rights activist who initiated the U.S. health center model.

The NACHC P&I also provided an opportunity for the CHC leadership to hear what is at stake in the immediate future as health centers confront changes in Congress and a difficult budget environment. CHCs set aside one day during the conference to meet with their members of Congress and key staff. A big focus this year was the possibility of facing a funding cliff. The Health Centers Fund, which makes up more than half of all funding for the national Health Centers Program, will end October 2015. If CHCs are not funded at their current levels, South Carolina CHCs would see up to a 70 percent reduction in grant funding, forcing a reduction or elimination of staff and services at CHCs.

"While in DC, South Carolina delegates met with our Congressional members and key congressional staff to educate them about the mission and the many accomplishments of our Community Health Centers in South Carolina," said Lathran J. Woodard, CEO of the SCPHCA. "It was also an opportunity to have a discussion with our members of Congress on the funding cliff that health centers are currently facing and the potential impact on the health care services in South Carolina."

CHC leadership also asked their member(s) of Congress to co-sign Dear Colleague letters to express general support for Health Center Funding in FY2016 and a fix to the Health Center Funding Cliff.

For NACHC P&I photos: /latest-news/photo-galleries/2015-nachc-pi.aspx

Note: On April 14, the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly to pass H.R. 2 (92-8). This bill includes  $7.2 billion in mandatory funding for the Health Centers Program, as well as continued funding for the National Health Service Corp (NHSC) and Teaching Health Centers (THC) for two years. 

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