Unfortunately, September 30, 2017 came and went without a "fix" to the health center funding that has now expired. Depending on the timing of individual grants, most health centers can get by with funding from last year through December, 2017 but it is difficult to makes strong financial decisions and continue to attract workers amid such uncertainty. Nationally, HHS estimates that a failure to extend the Community Health Center Fund could result in a loss of access to care for some 9 million patients.
There have been signs of progress, but no resolution yet. On October 6, a bill in the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a mark up with 2-year extension of funding for community health centers. House Republican and Democratic Committee Chairmen have stated that they are still looking for a bipartisan agreement to fund the extension.
What health centers need is for the House and Senate to pass theCommunity Health Investment, Modernization and Excellence (CHIME) Act. (S. 1899 in the Senate, H.R. 3770 in the House). Thisbillwould extend funding for the program for five years, which is would provide the needed stability forhealth centers to continue to provide cost effective, life saving care for their communities.