Remarks from LA Area Health Leaders Press Call
***A recording of today’s discussion is available here***
Los Angeles, CA The Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County (CCALAC), The Children’s Partnership (TCP), and the Northeast Valley Health Corporation (NEVHC) held a press briefing today outlining the impact of Congressional inaction on funding for community health centers, and other critical “health care extenders” that comprise the health care safety net.
According to Louise McCarthy, President and CEO of CCALAC, “Congress has funded healthcare for children, but hasn’t funded the systems that serve them. With the passage of a continuing resolution, Congress now only has weeks to act before community health centers run out of funds. That, along with their inaction on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is going to undermine the stability of our communities. Health centers are hanging in the balance they’re doing the best they can to plan for the future, but it’s very uncertain. At the same time, health centers are also stepping up, advocating and reaching out to their communities, to their Members of Congress, and beseeching them to fix this funding cliff.”
Mayra Alvarez, President of TCP, said “Our work to eliminate health disparities and ensure health equity for children is fueled by the success of programs like CHIP and its combined impact with other programs – like health centers – to help families raise their children and to ultimately give every child a fair shot at success. Families in California do not have the luxury to worry about issues one at a time – whether that is CHIP coverage, passage of the Dream Act, wondering if their health center will remain open, or if their home visiting program will be available.”
Vilma Champion, Director of Managed Care at NEVHC, said “Community health centers emphasize comprehensive primary and preventive care, oftentimes becoming the gateway to diagnosing and treating public health issues. Our presence in the community not only benefits residents who need our services but also relieves the strain on emergency rooms at local hospitals. NEVHC’s federal HRSA grant makes up 13% of its operating budget. Without this funding we have no choice but to cut back on staff, patients and services. More specifically, a lapse in funding would impact 10,000 patients, over 40,000 patient visits, and the salaries of 125 NEVHC staff members. Although we are happy that CHIP funding has been authorized, our CHIP patients would lose access to care if our doors at NEVHC are closed.”
The Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County (CCALAC) is the largest regional association of community clinics and health centers in California. Founded in 1994, CCALAC has 63 members that operate over 350 clinic sites, serving 1.6 million County residents. CCALAC is dedicated to serving and representing the interests of its member clinics as providers of quality health care, including medical, dental and pharmacy services.
The Children’s Partnership (TCP) is a California–based national children’s advocacy organization committed to improving the lives of underserved children where they live, learn, and play with breakthrough solutions at the intersection of research, policy, and community engagement. Since 1993, TCP has been a leading voice for children and a critical resource for communities across California and the nation, working every day to champion policies that provide all children with the resources and opportunities they need to thrive.
Northeast Valley Health Corporation (NEVHC) was incorporated in 1971 by a group of San Fernando Valley civic leaders who envisioned establishing a healthcare system that catered to the medical needs of the local community. They opened San Fernando Health Center in 1973 and celebrated its dedication with the late U.S. Senator Ted. Kennedy. Today, NEVHC has grown to 14 health centers in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys and continue to serve the uninsured and the medically underserved patients with limited financial resources. Nearly 70,000 patients receive medical, dental and behavioral health care at our health centers every year. NEVHC, one of the nation’s largest community health centers, is a nonprofit Joint Commission accredited Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC).