Funding Announcements from HRSA Primary Health Care Digest. $2.36 billion in Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program grants, and $285 million to 58 children’s hospitals through HRSA’s Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) Payment Program.
In 1965, the Community Health Center (CHC) Program began with two clinics. Over 52 years, this number has increased to nearly 1,400 health centers, with 10,400 delivery sites. Obviously, with that number of delivery locations, health centers have a vast impact on the health of our nation’s communities.
CHCs have seen tremendous growth over the past fifteen years, with a 152% increase in patient volume from 2001 – 2016. According to HRSA, nearly 26 million people were served at health center locations in 2016. That means about 1 in 12 people rely on a HRSA-funded health center for care.
As patient volumes increased, the need for CHC funding significantly increased. To address this funding need, a dedicated source of funding, the Community Health Center Fund, was established in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The CHC Fund currently contributes $3.6 billion of the $5.1 billion CHC funding annually. In 2015, the CHC Fund was extended for a period of two years and is slated to end September 30, 2017. Unless Congress acts now, on October 1st, CHCs will lose 70% of the federal funding that supports services across our country.
Bipartisan legislation, the Community Health Investment, Modernization and Excellence (CHIME) Act of 2017, was introduced to Congress on September 13, 2017, and would extend CHC support for an additional five years. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that without extending support, 2,800 health center delivery sites would close, more than 50,000 provider and staff positions in economically hard-hit communities would be eliminated, and there would be a loss of access to care for 9 million patients. This would be devastating for the communities that depend on CHCs.
Many health center advocacy groups have been working to raise awareness and have been requesting people to phone their members of Congress to show support for CHCs. If you want to help, click here to visit a website that will provide you with more information.
CHCs can utilize this tool, which is an Excel sheet created by the National Association of Community Health Centers, to estimate the financial impact for their health center.
The United States is experiencing a wave of an aging population. Warmly referred to as the Silver Tsunami, the population of seniors (65 and over) in the US has passed 50 million for the first time in history and is projected to reach over 70 million in the next 25 years.
Teaching hospitals and FQHCs can partner to alleviate community healthcare provider shortages and reduce training costs.
Innovative healthcare leaders sometimes need to make unorthodox connections. Such is the case with a partnership that some organizations have been part of since the 1970s—a connection between teaching hospitals and federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) that offers financial advantages to both.
Since the 2016 presidential election, the US healthcare industry has been bracing for some significant changes. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), while certainly not perfect, has helped move the US toward universal health coverage. As part of the Obama Administration's healthcare strategy, Community Health Center (CHC) funding was increased and moved under the ACA. This year’s initial ACA replacement proposal, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), was unable to gain traction in Congress and was withdrawn. While the ACA is still the law of the land, it clearly has a target painted on it. Amidst all of this uncertainty, how can health centers plan and prepare for continued financial stability?
The 340B Program will be accepting Health Center Program grantee registrations beyond the standard two-week registration period (April 1-15). Health centers will be able to register a site that has been verified as implemented and the site status is reflected as “active” in EHBs Form 5B through June 9, after which the system will close to prepare for the July 1 start. A similar quarterly registration timeframe will be employed each quarter.
In a move that should surprise no one, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) announced that the 340B Program Omnibus Guidelines, aka the 340B Mega Guidance, was withdrawn on January 30th. The proposed rule, which was released in draft form in August 2015, was widely expected to be finalized last December. As a unit of OMB, OIRA speaks directly for President Trump's executive branch.