The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) has endorsed bipartisan legislation, the Community Health Investment, Modernization and Excellence (CHIME) Act of 2017, introduced by Representatives Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), David Young (R-IA) and Joe Courtney (D-CT). The legislation would extend the Community Health Centers Fund for an additional five years.
Without Congressional action to extend the funding by September 30th, Community Health Centers face a 70% reduction in federal funds, which the Department of Health and Human Services has estimated would lead to closure of 2,800 health center sites, elimination of more than 50,000 provider and staff positions, and a loss of access to care for some 9 million patients. The CHIME Act would prevent that cliff, instead building on the bipartisan support health centers have earned over their more than 50-year history, with targeted investments in the nationwide health center system of care.
“This legislation could not come at a more critical time for our nation’s health centers and the patients and communities they serve,” said Dan Hawkins, Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Research at the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). “Health centers nationwide are already experiencing major disruptions as a result of the looming funding cliff. The CHIME Act would provide health centers in more than 10,000 communities the certainty they need to continue delivering high-value care, keep costs down and improve quality. We thank Reps. Stefanik, O’Halleran, Young and Courtney for their leadership. NACHC strongly endorses this legislation and is committed to working with Congress to ensure passage before the September 30 deadline.”