Current Weather
The Spy FM

Budget Cuts Deal Setbacks To Community Health Centers

Filed by KOSU News in Health.
October 11, 2011

Community health centers were among the big winners in the health care overhaul since the law provided $11 billion over five years to expand their ability to see millions more patients.

But hundreds of health centers aren’t feeling so lucky any more.

That’s because the Obama administration scaled back some of the expansion plans this year after the federal budget compromise reached in March trimmed government spending.

The budget deal between the White House and Republicans cut $600 million, or half the regular 2011 appropriation for the health centers. To lessen the pain, the administration filled in for those missing dollars with money slated to staff and build new centers. As a result, the expansion dollars for this year became much more limited.

Rather than handing out $250 million to establish new patient care sites to serve more than 2 million additional people as originally expected, the Obama administration gave $29 million to 67 nonprofit organizations that will serve an additional 286,000 patients. A total of 810 nonprofits had applied.

In addition, to free up money to help with existing operations, the administration scrapped plans to distribute $335 million to health centers to boost medical, dental, pharmacy and vision services.

Advocates are concerned that future congressional spending cuts could slow efforts to build health center capacity by 2014, when the health law will begin expanding coverage to 32 million uninsured. “Now the whole process has been set back,” said Dan Hawkins, senior vice president at the National Association of Community Health Centers.

At the local level, the funding changes mean:

A dental exam room at FoundCare Health Center in West Palm Beach, Fla., will remain unused four days a week because there’s no money to hire a dentist.

Triad Adults and Pediatrics in Greensboro, N.C., may face a repeat of last winter when more than 700 adult patients were put on a months-long waiting list for care and the center had to stop taking new pediatric patients because of a lack of doctors.

Heartland Community Health Center in Lawrence, Kan., will have to continue to tell patients they must wait at least two months for an appointment.

“When the money first became available, a lot of community organizations said here’s a golden opportunity, let’s try to take advantage,” said Heartland CEO Jon Stewart. “But like many others, we were shocked not to be awarded a grant.” [Copyright 2011 Kaiser Health News]

Leave a Reply

10AM to 11PM On Point

On Point

On Point unites distinct and provocative voices with passionate discussion as it confronts the stories that are at the center of what is important in the world today. Leaving no perspective unchallenged, On Point digs past the surface and into the core of a subject, exposing each of its real world implications.

Listen Live Now!

11AM to 12PM The Story

The Story

The Story with Dick Gordon brings the news home through first-person accounts. The live weekday program is passionate, personal, immediate and relevant to listeners, focusing on the news where it changes our lives, causes us to stop and rethink, inspires us.

View the program guide!

12PM to 1PM Fresh Air

Fresh Air

This one-hour program features Terry Gross' in-depth interviews with prominent cultural and entertainment figures, as well as distinguished experts on current affairs and news.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center