Facing ACA repeal, community clinics look down double-barreled gun
Friday, March 3, 2017
It's a long drive from Dr. Van Breeding's hometown of Whitesburg, Ky., to Lexington. As a child, his family made the trip to take his octogenarian grandmother to the nearest cardiology clinic.
"I remember you had to get up at 3 o'clock in the morning in order to drive down for her to make her 9 o'clock appointment," Breeding said.
Today, Breeding serves as director of clinical affairs for Mountain Comprehensive Health Corp., a community health center network based in Whitesburg that serves 30,000 patients a year across six counties in eastern Kentucky. In the past seven years, Breeding has seen his practice grow from five clinicians at two sites to 300 employees at seven clinics.
Much of Mountain's growth occurred through the Affordable Care Act, which funneled funding to grants aimed solely at helping community health centers like 43 sites in Michigan provide services not traditionally covered by third-party payers. Between 2011 and 2015, local clinics across the country received $11 billion in Section 330 grants through an ACA provision called the Community Health Center Fund. Congress extended the funding in 2015, providing $7.2 billion over the next two years.
But the fund is set to expire in September, and its future is in doubt. Community health center operators are fairly confident lawmakers will re-authorize the fund because their work has consistently received bipartisan support. Plus, Congress has already extended the fund twice.
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Source: Crain's Detroit Business