Health center advocates have been talking about the funding cliff for some time, now the media is starting to pay attention. The health center funding cliff is what happens after 2015, when funding from the Affordable Care Act expires, just as the demand ramps up for primary care.
“Access problems could intensify in September 2015,” writes Jed Graham in a feature recently published in Investors Business Daily. “The 2015 funding cliff would leave health centers unable to sustain current caseloads, sharply damaging primary-care access for the insured and uninsured alike and potentially leading to more costly increases in specialty, emergency and inpatient care.” Graham also cites the recent report on the funding cliff by researchers at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health. You can find that report by visiting this link.
That same report was also mentioned in a recent blog post by Nonprofit Quarterly writer Ruth McCambridge, who observes, “that if this funding is not continued, and if more states do not expand Medicaid, the number of patients cared for by health centers could by 2020 fall by more than 25 percent. If, on the other hand, funding is renewed and all states expand Medicaid, the numbers of patients served by health centers will rise from the 25.6 million that is expected this year to 36.5 million in 2020—a 42 percent increase.”
Health center leaders are also taking pen in hand to write about the issue. Anita Monoian, Former NACHC Board Chair and the President and CEO of Yakima Neighborhood Health Services described the impact a funding cliff would have on her health center in an op-ed published in the Yakima Herald Republic.
She writes, “The impact would be disastrous. Our clinic, like others here in the Valley and across the state, would be forced to cut back services and staff. Programs focused on growing the supply of primary care providers also would be hurt.”
In the coming week, we predict more headlines about this critical issue. So stay tuned!