The Community Health Center program serves 27 million people at almost 10,000 nonprofit clinics nationwide, almost all of which are in low-income rural and urban areas. However, uncertainty in Washington is threatening the ability of health centers to provide health care to their communities. “We are caught up in Washington’s political dysfunction,” said Carmela Castellano-Garcia, CEO of the California Primary Care Association. “These centers are a lifeline for millions of people, especially in rural areas where they may be the only health care provider for miles around."
Idaho health centers provide medical care at 72 clinics in 50 communities, many of which are located in rural areas. Because of the lack of action in Congress, many of Idaho's health centers are reconsidering future plans and deciding how to move forward if funding is cut. Nationwide, 20 percent of health centers have instituted a hiring freeze already, and 4 percent have laid off staff. Another 53 percent said they might lay off staff if federal funding is not forthcoming, according to a survey of community health centers by George Washington University and Kaiser Family Foundation researchers released last week.
For more information, read the Kaiser Health News article Community Health Centers Caught in 'Washington's Political Dysfunction' in full.