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Day of Demonstration Demands Congressional Action for Health Centers

Tuesday, February 6, 2018  
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Day of Demonstration Demands Congressional Action for Health Centers

Access to Care for 27 Million Health Center Patients at Risk


LANSING, Mich. — Today, as part of the Day of Demonstration for America’s Health Centers, representatives from Michigan’s community health centers are in Washington, D.C., to demand a long-term fix to the Health Center Funding Cliff. As part of this national day of action, advocates across Michigan and the nation are wearing red to demonstrate the urgency of the funding situation.


“We wear red to show our passion for the health center movement, the lifeblood of the primary care system in America,” said Loretta V. Bush, Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA) chief executive officer. “Health centers have been a bipartisan national solution to our nation’s health care challenges for more than 50 years. They reduce the cost of care across the health care system and improve health outcomes for some of our most vulnerable patients.”


Health centers have been waiting since Sept. 30, 2017, for Congress to fix the funding cliff that has resulted in a significant loss of federal funding. This extended lapse in funding has made it difficult for many health centers to operate, recruit and retain providers, sign contracts and leases, and plan for the future, putting 9 million patients, 50,000 jobs, and nearly 3,000 health center sites at risk. In Michigan alone, one in seven health center patients could lose access to the only health care provider in their area.


The next opportunity for Congress to renew Health Center Program funding, along with other critical health care extenders, is February 8, when Congress reconvenes for budget negotiations or a government spending package.


“While Congress delays, access to quality, affordable care for millions hangs in the balance,” said Dr. Brenda Coughlin, Great Lakes Bay Health Centers’ chief executive officer and MPCA board president. “And it’s not just about medical services, either. Every day we provide patient-centered care that includes social support, behavioral health care, dental care, pharmacy, health education, and treatment for substance use disorders. Congress literally cannot afford to wait.”

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