The Health Center Program is authorized in Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act and administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The federal program under current law is financed through a combined mix of discretionary funding passed by Congress through the regular appropriation process for each fiscal year, and mandatory funding made available under the Community Health Center Fund (CHCF) created in 2010.

Congress initially funded the CHCF for five years to pay for the operation, expansion, and construction of health centers throughout the nation. To date, Congress has provided two extensions of the CHCF in 2015 (FY16 and FY17) and March 2018 (FY18 and FY19). For FY18, the nation’s health centers are funded with $1.6 billion from discretionary funds, and were provided with $3.8 billion from the CHCF in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. The Bipartisan Budget Act also included $4.0 billion in mandatory funds for FY19. America’s 1,400+ health center organizations urge Congress to build upon the investments of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 which will further expand access to primary care.


Federal Budget Process Overview

In order for federal funds to be appropriated, they must be: (1) passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate and (2) signed by the President. Each year, this process formally begins with the President’s submission of his budget request to Congress. Even when the budget process follows a “regular” course of action, securing final congressional approval of each of each of the 12 spending bills that fund our government takes months of consideration and debate. This includes the Labor-Health and Human Services Education appropriations bill, which provides the discretionary “base” funding for the Health Center Program.

Here is a chart summarizing the annual federal budget process.

Helpful Resources

Letters and NACHC Blogs

Legislation Extending Health Center Funding

NACHC Appropriations Fact Sheets

Health Center Value and Cost-Effectiveness

Numerous research studies have shown that health centers are a cost-effective and high quality solution assuring that Americans in rural and urban underserved areas have access to comprehensive primary and preventative health care services. Additionally, health centers provide a return on the federal investment Congress makes in the Health Center program. Below are a few resources to assist you in your outreach to Senate and House offices as you speak to the benefits and value of the Health Center Program.

Health Center Appropriations “Dear Colleagues” and Letters of Support

Every year, Congressional Champions of the Health Center Program lead letters to the Appropriations Committees in both the Senate and House conveying support for the program. Below you can find this year’s House and Senate funding letters and the Members of Congress who have signed in support.

Senate letter – currently closed

House of Representatives letter – currently closed

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