Monday, August 19, 2013

Health Centers Can Help Patients Understand the Insurance Options Offered through the ACA


Health centers are an essential component of health care reform not only as a source of primary health care but also as source of information about new health insurance options. The Affordable Care Act requires most Americans to have health insurance beginning January 1, 2014, imposing financial penalties (fees) on individuals who do not have coverage at that time.  As the enrollment window approaches, health centers have an opportunity to offer valuable guidance to their communities about the options available and the process of signing up for insurance. 

The latest issue of Capital Ink, Capital Link’s e-newsletter, contains an article about how health centers can help patients adjust to the health insurance changes brought by ACA implementation. Access it here.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Health Centers Across the Country Celebrate National Health Center Week


From August 11-17, health centers across the U.S. are celebrating National Health Center Week (NHCW) 2013, a campaign to raise awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s health centers as local solutions for affordable and accessible health care.  More than 1,000 events are scheduled.

President Barack Obama issued a proclamation officially designating this week as NHCW.  “Community Health Centers play a critical role in providing affordable, high-quality preventive and primary health care to millions of Americans,” he said.  “From urban centers to rural towns, they offer vital services regardless of ability to pay—services that help patients stay healthy and avoid emergency room visits. During National Health Center Week, we recognize health centers' significant contributions to keeping America healthy, and we offer our continuing support to the dedicated providers who operate them.”

In celebration of this event, Capital Link released a new infographic showing the economic impact and job growth of health centers nationally. Download the PDF from our website to share with local media, community supporters, or on social media.

Friday, August 9, 2013

New Infographic Shows Rising Economic Impact of Health Centers

To highlight the valuable work of health centers during National Health Center Week 2013, Capital Link is pleased to report that the powerful economic benefits health centers provide to their local communities are on the rise.

Check out Capital Link's new infographic showing the economic impact and job growth of health centers nationally. Download the PDF from our website to share with local media, community supporters, or on social media.


Potential New Markets Tax Credit Funding Increase


The President’s budget includes a windfall increase for the New Markets Tax Credit program with a request for a two-year cycle.  This increase would provide up to $8.5 billion in tax credit allocation for a two-year cycle 2014 and 2015.  That is a total $5 billion increase over the presently proposed $3.5 billion single-year cycle.  The application cycle for this improvement is in process now and applicants are looking for health center projects to include. 
 
The combining of two years’ worth of appropriation represents a large but fleeting window to finance your upcoming capital project with New Markets Tax Credits, which can provide approximately 20% of the value of project costs in the form of, effectively, a loan which is not repaid.  We will not see another funding opportunity like this for two years.

What Health Centers can do to Access the NMTC Program:

Capital Link is working to ensure that health centers are lined up with potential NMTC allocatees and prepared with financeable business plans prior to the announcement.  Once the announcement is made, allocation will be allotted to eligible projects very quickly, so health centers should prepare now.

Step 1:  Complete
the short questionnaire, including your contact information, health center name, brief project description with cost estimates, and project address including zip code so Capital Link can help you determine if your project is eligible for tax credit investment.  To learn if your project is eligible, please submit the survey as soon as possible.

Step 2:  Contact Mark Lurtz at
mlurtz@caplink.org or 636-244-3082 with any questions or to provide additional information about your project.

Background:  The New Markets Tax Credit Program:

In 2000, Congress passed legislation creating a new economic development tax credit program called New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC). This tax credit was designed to stimulate private investment in low-income communities. The program is administered by the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund under the US Department of the Treasury.
 
Through a series of competitive application cycles, the CDFI Fund allocates tax credits to Community Development Entities (CDEs).  As organizations focused on providing financing in economically-distressed areas, CDEs work to attract investors (primarily banks and large corporations), who provide them with capital in exchange for federal tax credits.  The CDEs, in turn, lend or invest this capital and other loans in businesses located in targeted census tracts to spur economic growth. 
 
Because the service areas of many federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) overlap these specific census tracts, health centers can often qualify to utilize NMTC investments as part of their capital financing.  NMTC transactions typically provide below-market, interest-only loans during the seven-year tax credit period; most transactions are also structured so that all or a portion of the original investment amount can become equity to the health center at the end of year seven—in effect, the NMTC portion of the investment does not need to be repaid. 
 
If you’d like more information about the program, visit our website for our publication “Spotlight on Capital Resources: New Markets Tax Credits,” available as a free download to health centers and PCAs.