Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Congress Approves Legislation Ensuring Continued Funding in Fiscal Year 2013 for Community Health Centers

Last week the Senate and House voted to pass the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013, which funds the federal government for the remainder of fiscal year 2013. Under the legislation, the Health Centers program will receive a total programmatic level of nearly $3.1 billion for FY 2013. This allocation represents a $300 million increase in funding from FY 2012.

Of that $300 million, $48 million is allocated to base grant adjustments for existing health centers to ensure they are able to keep up with rising costs in the health care marketplace. More importantly, the legislation ensures the entire $300 million funding increase will be used immediately to address the demand for access to primary care services that health centers deliver, and provide for the expansion of care to 1.5 million new patients. Part of this funding may also be used to offset the impact of the sequester on existing health centers – ensuring no current services will be cut this year.

The legislation will allow health centers to expand access to primary care services nationwide in a time where demand is far outpacing current capacity. During the last expansion of health centers in FY2011, over 500 communities submitted applications for new Health Centers and were unable to be funded. Existing health centers have also not received a base grant adjustment since 2009.

The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act includes nearly $1.6 billion allocated for health centers in FY13, which would be in addition to $1.5 billion previously allocated under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for the program. Of the total $3.1 billion allocation, $48 million will go towards base grant adjustments for existing health centers. This represents a 1.7 percent funding increase for existing health centers. The funding for health centers within the ACA is scheduled to end in fiscal year 2015.

Source: the National Association of Community Health Centers

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