ON FRIDAY (February 2) | Groundhog Day continues to repeat as Community Health Centers still wait for funding

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WHO: Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers (PACHC); Jeannine Peterson, Hamilton Health Center (1 site and 3 school-based sites serving Dauphin County); Jennifer Englerth, Family First Health (6 sites serving Adams and York Counties); Kristie Bennardi, Keystone Rural Health Consortia (5 sites serving Cameron, Centre and Elk Counties); Gina Baum, patient of SouthEast Lancaster Health Center (6 sites serving Lancaster County).

WHAT: Like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day, health centers keep waking up to relive the same day.  After more than 115 days, Community Health Center funding is no further ahead than when its authorization expired on September 30, 2017.  Community Health Centers have seen bipartisan support and continued funding since the program began in 1964 but continue to be overlooked in current federal budget discussions.  While health centers are receiving temporary monthly federal grants from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), these funds will expire on March 31.  At that time, every health center in the nation will experience a reduction of up to 70% in the federal grant from HRSA, critically impacting health centers’ operational budgets.  Due to the uncertainty of continued funding, many health centers are already implementing cuts.

Pennsylvania community health center leaders will discuss the impact of a Health Center Program funding loss on the Commonwealth’s health center patients and local economies, including site closures, workforce reductions and elimination of vital services to patients.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has projected that the national impact of the loss of this funding will be closure of 2,800 health center locations, elimination of more than 50,000 jobs, and loss of access to care for more than 9 million patients.

WHEN: Friday, February 2 at 10:00 AM

WHERE:  Conference Call: 1-800-220-9875; PIN: 45686213

WHY: Community Health Centers are a nationwide network of safety-net providers that started more than 50 years ago to provide quality primary care in places where doctors and services were scarce or non-existent. We are the family doctor and dentist to more than 27 million Americans (1 in 12) in communities across the country and to more than 800,000 Pennsylvanians through locations in 52 counties. Health centers provide affordable access to primary medical, dental and behavioral care and help reduce the incidence of chronic disease in the rural and urban communities we serve.  Our patients have a more affordable option for preventive care than a hospital emergency room, resulting nationally in $24 billion in healthcare cost savings annually.

SPEAKER BIOS: Jeannine Peterson, CEO of Hamilton Health Center and Board Chair of PACHC, has more than 36 years of experience in public and community health.  Jennifer Englerth is CEO of Family First Health and has spent more than 15 years working to improve access to primary medical and dental care for underserved populations in southcentral Pennsylvania.  Kristie Bennardi, the CEO of Keystone Rural Health Consortia, has more than 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry including over two decades as a nurse. Gina Baum is a patient of SouthEast Lancaster Health Services, she has received care at the health center for three years and the center has been able to accommodate her medical needs.

For more information please contact Amanda Tekely, Communication Manager, at 717-761-6443 ext. 205 or by email at amanda@pachc.org.

The Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers (PACHC) is a statewide membership services organization representing Community Health Centers   – the largest primary care network in Pennsylvania and the nation – and other safety net providers that care for more than 800,000 Pennsylvanians at nearly 300 delivery sites in rural and urban communities across the Commonwealth.

Visit www.pachc.org to find a Community Health Center near you.

SOURCE: email news release

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