Without Federal Funding, Community Health Centers Stuck In Limbo

Dec 6, 2017

Credit Community Health Alliance

Back in September, Congress let the funding for  the nation's Federally Qualifed Health Centers, or FQHCs, lapse. These centers serve as a health safety net for low-income families. Reno Public Radio’s Anh Gray sits down with the head of a Reno-based agency to learn what contingencies are planned if funding isn’t renewed.

Chuck Duarte heads up Community Health Alliance. The agency has six facilities spread across the Reno-Sparks area. Without federal funding, Duarte says fewer people will have access to care.

“We estimate that about 6,000 of our patients may not be able to seek care through us because we just won’t have the facilities or the staffing to do it," Duarte explains, "and so that’s a serious impact to residents of Washoe County cause most of these folks really need access to care and we’re one of those organizations that provide it to them.”

The House has already passed legislation to fund community health centers and to extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, but agencies are still awaiting for action from the Senate.  As the waiting continues, Duarte explains Congress could make a decision about renewed funding when members consider a short-term continuing resolution before the end of the year.

Nevada Senators Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto and Republican Dean Heller have joined a group of bipartisan senators urging Congress to support legislation that would reauthorize funding.