For Immediate Release
Amy Simmons Farber
NACHC recently received the full report from the CNCS OIG about a recent investigation into the Community HealthCorps program and potential prohibited activities taking place among a few volunteer members at one of the 38 sub-grantee health center sites NACHC oversees as part of this program. Immediately upon discovery of this matter by NACHC Leadership, NACHC self-reported the issue to the proper authorities within CNCS. Since that time, NACHC/Community HealthCorps has taken a number of decisive corrective action steps.
These and other actions were implemented by NACHC, and then as part of a plan developed jointly by NACHC, CNCS and the OIG. We anticipate continuing to work with the CNCS and all of our sub-grantees to strengthen program administration and sub-grantee compliance, so that the Community HealthCorps program – through which thousands of volunteers have served more than 350,000 health center patients over the last 20 years – can continue to serve patients in their communities.
We take this matter seriously and have fully cooperated with both CNCS and the OIG throughout their process. We moved immediately to cease the activity in question, and suspended the identified site’s AmeriCorps members for a period until they and their site supervisors were retrained and revised member service contracts were reviewed and signed. All 38 sub-grantee program coordinators and HealthCorps grant staff at NACHC were also retrained. Retraining included reviewing all relevant rules and regulations related to AmeriCorps prohibited activities. To prevent future misinterpretations, the nearly 500 AmeriCorps member service contracts were revised to include statutory language, as well as CNCS’s clarifications regarding prohibited activities. All actively serving members, program coordinators and site supervisors were required to review and sign the revised member service contract. In addition, the sub-grantee in question was removed from NACHC’s refunding application for any subsequent cycle.
NACHC would welcome HHS action to determine that all community health centers are abiding by all federal laws and restrictions with regard to the use of federal funds. Health centers do not plan to, nor are they seeking to, become providers of abortion. We value the bipartisan support health centers have earned through successive administrations and are in favor of any measure to clarify that health centers are good stewards of federal investments.
Community health center federal grant funding is subject to the Hyde amendment which prevents the use of any of these funds for abortion. Given that the core set of services and mission of community health centers is to provide preventive and primary care, abortion does not fit into the community health center model of care.