December 15, 2017
Dear members of Congress,
Thank you for the ongoing support you have shown for health centers. I am writing again today because as you know, 70% of Health Center Program grant funding, along with ALL funding for the National Health Service Corps and Teaching Health Centers expired more than 70 days ago. I am extremely concerned about the chaos and uncertainty that health centers are facing because Congress still hasn’t fixed the cliff.
I’m sure I’m not the only person contacting you about this problem - health center advocates across your district have called, emailed, and used social media to urge action ‒ yet we still have not seen final action to extend this critical funding. I want to make sure you hear from me directly today, to plead for your help and to let you know what’s happening right now at health centers. In speaking with my colleagues in our community and across the country, I can tell you that health centers have already cut services, been denied for bank loans, lost talented staff and recruits, reduced hours, and halted planned facility expansions in an attempt to keep their doors open and keep seeing patients on a limited operating budget.
Currently, $7.7 million of Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Centers budget comes from federal grants, which is 30% of our total budget. Jackson-Hinds has approximately 50,000 unduplicated users and they are poor, uninsured or underinsured. As you can see, the long-term effects of a cut of this nature are devastating. Additionally, the numbers don’t show the current impact of the Cliff as a result of Congress’ inaction.
The House has included two years of health center funding in their version of a Continuing Resolution, and it is imperative that this funding stays in the final bill that will pass Congress in the next few days. Our health centers and millions of our patients and staff are counting on you. I stand ready and willing to answer any questions or provide any additional information you might need.
Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.
Dr. Jasmin Chapman,
Chief Executive Officer