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CHC Federal Funding: What Happened, The Specifics, and Where We Go From Here

CHC Federal Funding: What Happened, The Specifics, and Where We Go From Here

It was a busy week in Washington, so we wanted share with you the latest information around health center funding as we close out the year. Before we get into the specifics, we first want to say thank you – we feel lucky to be a part of this movement alongside such dedicated, tireless, and creative advocates.  While we ended the year short of where we’d hoped to be, we remain committed to working with you all in the new year to secure long-term funding for health centers.

What Happened?

Earlier in the week it was announced that Congressional leadership had reached agreement on the 12 spending bills to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year, or September 30, 2020. The 12 bills were split into two “minibus” bills and one of those bills, H.R. 1865, included, among many other things, annual appropriations funding for health centers. Also included in H.R. 1865 were a number of additional provisions, including another short-term extension through May 22, 2020 for the Community Health Center Fund, the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), the Teaching Health Centers Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) program and other important public health programs.

On Tuesday, the House passed the funding bills, while on Thursday, the Senate gave their sign-off and it is expected the White House will sign the funding bills into law on Friday.

 

The Specifics:

This 5-month extension of mandatory funding for health centers, the NHSC and THCGME is necessary to avoid a direct funding lapse; however, it is well short of the longer-term extension needed to address the uncertainty that these programs face with only short-term renewals of this critical funding.

In addition to the five months of funding for health centers, several additional provisions were added to the funding bills, including:

  • 5-month delay of Medicaid DSH cuts;
  • 5-month extension of funding for Special Diabetes Programs and Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic demonstration programs;
  • Two-year extension of Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico and the Territories, along with increased FMAP for the next two years;
  • Repeal of health taxes including Cadillac tax, medical device tax and health insurance tax;
  • Ban on the sale of tobacco products to people under 21.

Some of the specific details of FY20 appropriations funding agreement for health centers include:

  • $1.63 billion in Community Health Center discretionary funding through September 30, 2020, including a $50M earmark for Health Centers in high-need areas to increase the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP);
  • $120 million in National Health Service Corps (NHSC) discretionary funding through September 30, 2020.

What Will Next Year Look Like?

While the effort to secure long-term, stable federal funding is not over, we have made a great deal of progress, and we could not have gotten this far without the dedication of our advocates. Thank you for the commitment of time and energy you all have made over the past several weeks and months – whether that was through emails, calls, social media or visiting your Members of Congress here in DC or in your own neighborhood.  This will continue in the new year and right up until long-term funding is passed – hopefully well before the May 22 deadline. Please stay connected with us through www.hcadvocacy.org for the all the resources you’ll need to continue making your voice heard.