Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), yesterday joined Linda Muller, President and CEO of Cornerstone Family Healthcare in calling for support for Community Health Centers (CHCs) across the country. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, health centers have been on the frontlines of care, but many have faced extreme financial hardships due to the demands of the pandemic and need federal investment in order to stay fully operational.
“Our Community Health Centers are on the frontlines of this pandemic, but they need federal investment from Congress to continue this fight,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. “Cornerstone Family Healthcare alone has tested and treated tens of thousands of folks here in the Hudson Valley, and has been an incredible resource to our community. Now more than ever, we need to ensure they have the resources they need to continue this fight. I’m calling on the Senate to stop slow-walking these negotiations on our next coronavirus relief package so we can get Cornerstone – and every health center – the help it needs.”
“Our survival depends on this,” said Linda Muller, President and CEO of Cornerstone Family Healthcare. “I believe that healthcare should be a non-political issue. We’re thankful that Congressman Maloney has been out there fighting to make sure that people understand this isn’t a blue issue or a red issue – this is a human issue. And right now our health center, like so many others across the country, has experienced significant financial setbacks due to COVID-19. Without Community Health Centers, 30 million people in the United States would not have a medical home. Where would they go? The mission of Community Health Centers remains crucial today – as unemployment rises and more Americans lose their employee-sponsored health care, we’ll be the key to keeping America healthy.”
Using innovative medical practices like telehealth systems and a mobile COVID-19 testing unit, Cornerstone Family Healthcare has tested and treated thousands of New Yorkers across the Hudson Valley during the pandemic. The health center also offers antibody tests, and has continued preventive and non-pandemic care services for patients throughout the pandemic.
Community Health Centers are community-based, comprehensive care providers that focus on serving communities in areas where economic, geographic or cultural barriers limit access to health and preventive care. Despite the critical services health centers provide to low-income and medically vulnerable communities, health centers across the country have been financially stressed by the pandemic. Nationally, over 1,000 health centers have temporarily closed due to the pandemic. Over 80 health centers in New York State have temporarily closed.
A majority of the funding for Community Health Centers is appropriated through Congress, but this funding stream is set to expire on November 30, 2020.
In May, the House of Representatives passed the Heroes Act, which includes $7.6 billion in emergency funds for Community Health Centers. These funds will be used to expand COVID-19 testing and treatment capacity, and support other services in health centers across the country. Additionally, the Heroes Act includes an additional $100 billion for the Public Health and Services Emergency Fund, dedicates $75 billion for COVID-19 testing measures, and provides $200 billion to establish a Heroes Fund, which will provide hazard pay for health care and essential workers on the frontlines of the pandemic. The House and Senate are currently in negotiations on the House-passed Heroes Act and the Senate’s stimulus proposal.
National Health Center Week is celebrated August 9-15, 2020.