Amy Simmons Farber 301 347 0400
Washington — The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) has announced it is cancelling its 2020 Policy and Issues Forum (March 16-19th) after mounting public health concerns about the spread of novel coronavirus or COVID-19. The annual conference is the largest gathering of Community Health Center professionals and draws thousands of attendees from across the nation. However, the rapidly developing situation with COVID-19 and reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made the decision necessary.
“The health and safety of our health center communities, patients, staff, boards and partners are our first priority,” said Tom Van Coverden, President and Chief Executive Officer of NACHC. “We also recognize that as frontline responders to this rapidly developing public health crisis, health centers need to be where they are most needed – at home in their communities, helping to contain the spread of COVID-19.”
Earlier this week the House and Senate approved, and the president signed, a funding package that includes $100 million to help health centers battle COVID-19 and deal with an upsurge of patient visits and calls, as well as reported shortages of protective gear (PPE) among other problems.
The supplemental COVID-19 resources are helpful, but health centers, which care for 29 million people, are also operating under a temporary funding measure that expires on May 22. The uncertainty about a long term funding fix, has made it difficult for health centers to recruit and hire staff, plan services or build capacity.
“As we address this impending pandemic, it is more critical than ever for Congress to shore up long term and stable funding for critical programs like the Community Health Center Fund, Teaching Health Centers, and the National Health Service Corps,” said Van Coverden.
NACHC has posted information about the conference and refunds here.
Established in 1971, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) serves as the national voice for America’s Health Centers and as an advocate for health care access for the medically underserved and uninsured.