Reps. McKinley, Jenkins and Mooney Urge House Leadership to Fund Community Health Centers

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Washington, January 23, 2018 | comments

Now that the Children’s Health Insurance Program has been extended long-term, Reps. David B. McKinley, P.E., (WV-1), Evan Jenkins (WV-3) and Alex Mooney (WV-2) sent a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy seeking critical funding for community health centers. The House has previously passed funding for these centers, but the Senate has yet to act. With the lack of certainty in funding, community health centers will be faced with difficult choices. They will either cut jobs or critical services, such as behavioral health and substance abuse treatment. With the opioid crisis in our state being particularly acute, this is an untenable situation both for both patients and providers.

“One in four West Virginians rely on community health centers for their medical services. These centers face difficult decisions with the uncertainty surrounding their funding, which expires in March. If they have to cut jobs or services, it would be detrimental to rural areas,” said Rep. David B. McKinley. “The House passed funding for the program back in November, but the Senate has failed to take up the legislation. It is time for Congress to take action and ensure the funding for this critical resource.”

“Community health centers serve a critical role across West Virginia, ensuring that thousands of people have access to quality healthcare. These centers serve key roles providing primary care and mental healthcare, services often lacking in more rural areas. I proudly vote multiple times to reauthorize and fund community health centers, and I’m calling on Congress to act quickly and make this long-term solution law,” said Rep. Evan Jenkins.

“West Virginians rely on Community Health Centers to receive critical medical care and services—it is time the US Senate acts to provide long-term funding for these centers. As our state tackles growing healthcare challenges, these centers provide quality care to some of our most vulnerable populations,” said Rep. Alex Mooney. “I was pleased the House acted back in November to provide much needed funding.”

Background

On November 3, the House voted in a bi-partisan fashion to fund the community health center program through the end of fiscal year 2019 by passing H.R. 3922, the CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act. Unfortunately, the United States Senate failed to act on that measure.

Although the House acted responsibly to fund community health centers, we are concerned that the ongoing lack of a solution has created uncertainty amongst health care providers in our state, as well as the vulnerable populations they serve. One in four West Virginians rely on the services that these health centers provide, from primary and dental care, to women’s health and pediatric care.

The twenty-seven federal grantee organizations in the state have over three hundred delivery sites that are integral in serving the rural communities where access to basic health care remains an ongoing issue.

Click hereto view a copy of the letter.

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