Stabenow Announces Funding for Community Health Centers

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following a months-long bipartisan effort, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today announced that critical funding for community health centers will be reauthorized for two years.  Funding for community health centers, which serve more than 680,000 people in Michigan and over 27 million nationally, expired on September 30, 2017.


“After a long fight, we finally have great news today for families in Michigan and across the country who rely on community health centers for the health care they need,” said Senator Stabenow.  “This is a big relief for our families, veterans, and children who won’t have to wonder anymore if they’ll be able to see a doctor.”


"Reauthorization of the Health Center Program is a testament to the power of bipartisanship, and we’re grateful to Sen. Stabenow for leading that charge," said Loretta V. Bush, Chief Executive Officer, Michigan Primary Care Association. "Now that this budgetary crisis is over, community health centers can get back to the business of what they do best: providing high-quality care to their patients."


“On behalf of the more than 16,000 patients we serve in Wayne County, we thank Senator Stabenow for leading the effort to pass funding we need to continue serving families,” said Linda Atkins, Chief Executive Officer, Western Wayne Family Health Center. “The Senator has been a long time champion for community health centers in Michigan and around the U.S.”


“We appreciate Senator Stabenow’s tenacious leadership to get this much-needed funding,” said Clarence Pierce, Chief Executive Officer of Hamilton Community Health Network in Genesee County. “As the largest FQHC in Genesee County, this is great news for more than 26,000 patients we serve.”


“Funding for our community health centers was at risk; we’ve been in limbo since October,” said Molly Kaser, Chief Executive Officer at the Center for Family Health in Jackson. “Senator Stabenow championed the effort to give us budget certainty so that we can continue to provide access and excellent care for our patients.”


“CHASS Center staff and patients are delighted, and relieved, to receive the information that community health center funding has been reauthorized,” said Felix Zalbuena, Jr. MD, Chief Executive Officer of Community Health and Social Services Center (CHASS) in Detroit. “Through support of legislators, and in particular through the unwavering efforts of Senator Stabenow, community health centers will be able to continue providing comprehensive and cost effective primary health and wellness care to over 27 million people nationwide.”


“As a health center located in rural Northern Lower Michigan, our patients count on us for access to healthcare services,” said Arlene Brennan, Chief Executive Officer of Traverse City Health Clinic. “We are absolutely thrilled that the Senate has approved extending health center funding for two years. Extending health center funding will allow us to continue to provide the services that positively impact the health of our 3,500 patients, making a real difference in their quality of life and the health of our community."


Community health centers provide quality medical, dental, vision and behavioral health care to more than 680,000 people in Michigan, including 225,000 children and 12,700 veterans. Without extension of the Community Health Center Fund (CHCF), community health centers would have lost seventy percent of their funding. 


Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) authored bipartisan legislation to fund health centers and earlier this week  led 65 of their colleagues in calling on Senate leadership to immediately reauthorize funding for community health centers.   The failure to reauthorize the fund has jeopardized access to care for millions of Americans and made it difficult for community health centers to adequately plan for everything from staffing needs to securing loans for capital projects.


Stabenow and Blunt previously sent a letter, which was signed by a bipartisan group of 70 senators, urging the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Chairman and Ranking Member to extend funding for community health centers.