by Abby Pinkele
On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the Labor-Health and Human Services (HHS)-Education spending bill for fiscal year 2013 (FY 2013) by a vote of 16-14.
Under the legislation, Health Centers will receive approximately $1.6 billion in discretionary funding. The Affordable Care Act also provides $1.5 billion in mandatory funding through the Health Center Fund for FY2013. This represents a combined total FY13 program level for health centers of approximately $3.1 billion and an increase of $300 million. The legislation passed by the Committee also ensures the full $300 million increase will be used immediately and will be fully expended by September 30, 2013.
Also of note, the legislation allocates $48 million for current health center base grant adjustments- a 1.7 percent funding increase for existing health centers. Additionally, the bill provides almost $95 million in funding for the Federal Tort Claims Act judgment fund.
The legislation will allow for the expansion of care to 2.5 million new patients both in new communities and through expanded services at existing health centers. This is a major victory for the health center grassroots in a difficult fiscal environment. Please read the full NACHC press release on the legislation here.
It is unlikely the final bill will be taken up by the full Senate until after the election in November. We predict the legislation will mostly likely be rolled into a year-end omnibus appropriations bill.
The House LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee was expected to act on their LHHS FY2013 spending bill this week, but recent reports indicate the House has indefinitely postponed action on the LHHS spending bill. We will continue to track the LHHS spending bills in both the House and Senate and post any new developments.