Tester Calls for Community Health Center Funding, Certainty for Patients
Senator: Congress Must Act Now
(U.S. Senate) – As a second government funding deadline looms, U.S. Senator Jon Tester is urging Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to fund community health centers without further delay.
Funding for the Community Health Center Fund expired on September 30, 2017 and without resumed funding, clinics across Montana will run out of money as early as February 2018.
“This inexcusable failure is hurting the hospitals and clinics that keep Montana’s rural and medically underserved communities health,” wrote Tester. “It is long past time to fix this uncertainty, which is threatening the health of my constituents.”
Montana has 17 community health centers with over 40 satellite sites, serving one in 10 Montanans. These centers provide primary care as well as dental, preventative and mental health care in many facilities.
The closure of even one facility means rural Montanans could have to travel hundreds of miles to see a doctor for basic care.
“Congress must act now,” Tester continued. “We cannot keep kicking this can down the road and crossing our fingers that rural hospitals and clinics can survive. The patients and rural communities who rely on them deserve far better than that.”
Tester is sponsoring the CHIME Act, which would fund community health centers for five years.
Tester has been sounding alarms about community health center funding since last May when he called on the Senate to take action.
He voted against a stop-gap measure to keep the government open in January because the measure failed to address lapsing funding for community health centers.
You can read Tester’s full letter to McConnell and Schumer HERE.