Health Care News, Health Center Advocacy

A Potential Shutdown: How Did We Get Here and What Does it Mean?

How did we get here?

As of Friday afternoon, Congress still hasn’t agreed upon a Continuing Resolution (CR) that can pass both Houses of Congress and prevent the federal government from shutting down.

Thursday evening, the House passed a CR that would keep the government’s doors open through February 16th. The House-passed bill provides a six-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and also delays various ACA taxes on health insurers, medical devices, and high-end health insurance. However, this package does not include any funding for Community Health Centers, the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), the Teaching Health Centers Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) program, or other critical “health care extenders.” In the Senate, this bill currently lacks the 60 votes necessary to send the package to the White House.

Senators from both parties have publicly expressed their opposition to the House-passed CR due to disagreements over several issues, including funding for health centers, the NHSC, and THCs. Other areas of disagreement include extending protections for “Dreamers,” and funding for national defense, disaster relief, and the opioid crisis. Unless Congress comes to an agreement on a short-term CR by midnight, many parts of the government will shut down in full or in part at that time.

How would a shutdown impact our operations?  

During a shutdown:

  1. Health centers are expected to continue operating as usual.
  2. All organizations that currently receive BPHC funding (including health center grantees, HCCNs, and PCAs) will continue being able to drawdown FY2017 and FY2018 Federal funds for which they have received a Notice of Award. Grantees on drawdown restriction will continue to need BPHC approval to drawdown funds.

In the event that a shutdown actually occurs, we expect that BPHC will reach out to all grantees early on Monday with more information.

Will NACHC staff be available to assist us during a shutdown? 

Absolutely. All NACHC staff will be available as usual. Please don’t hesitate to be in touch with us if you have any questions or concerns in the coming days.

Regardless of whether the government shuts down, Congress will continue working – and Health Centers will continue to be an important part of their conversations. You can continue stressing the urgency and importance of a fix to the Health Center Funding Cliff with your Members of Congress through the HCAdvocacy action center here.

4 Comments on “A Potential Shutdown: How Did We Get Here and What Does it Mean?

  1. This is something that affects more than 20 million Americans, and the notion that healthcare is an option on the chopping block is absurd. Federally Qualified Health Centers support the health and wellness of American families and to think that there is a chance that CHIP and Medicaid as well as FQHC and NHSC programs that serve the underserved could possibly lose funding makes me realize that the elected officials have lost touch with the citizens of this country. Referendum is in order America. Vote to change the leadership if they don’t get this one right.

  2. To the U.S. Congress:
    I urge you to do your job and focus on the needs of those who are not financially positioned to finance their healthcare expenses. Re-appropriating funds for community health centers is an imperative. I work for a community health center and have witnessed first-hand the exceptional services community healthcare center provides. With the Republican Congress attempting repeatedly to take away healthcare coverage from the most needed distresses me greatly. The majority of those who elected you are not wealthy. They rely on governmental assistance–not because they are moochers but because they have no other alternatives. Support the re-appropriation of funding for community healthcare centers.

  3. Appreciative of the plan to fund CHIP, but there is more work to do. Congress, please address the huge deficit in affordable health care, in part, with a long-term resolution on Health Centers Funding Cliff and funding for Community Health Centers, the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), so that important rural and other care centers may plan and provide care for so many vulnerable residents.

  4. Federally Qualified Health Centers that are affiliated with “non-profit” health systems are being used to disconnect patients from their traditional providers and send them to new providers, who never took care of Medicaid patients before, but want to now because there’s more money as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Some of these health centers used to provide charity care for the community before they acquired FQHC status. Now, because of the enhanced Medicaid and Medicare funding that FQHC’s enjoy as compared to private physicians, as well as millions in grants, they have become a money-maker for the health systems. The health systems are in charge of processing specialist referrals from the health centers and they send most referrals to their own employed specialists, who will be sure to maximize any opportunity for surgery, thereby enhancing revenues for the hospitals. The added bonus is that they get to put their employed doctors’ competition out of business by withholding patient referrals to independent doctors. Also, by charging these health centers for administrative services without competitive bidding, the health systems can access funds from the federal grants. I certainly hope that Congress does NOT authorize any more funding for these FQHC’s because they are allowing themselves to be used by healthcare executives to increase the cost of healthcare and because they are complicit in putting those providers who have long taken care of Medicaid patients for a fraction of their cost, out of business.

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