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Engel Leads Over 150 Members on Bipartisan Letter Urging Funding for Community Health Centers

Engel Leads Over 150 Members on Bipartisan Letter Urging Funding for Community Health Centers

Congressman Eliot L. Engel (NY-16)  joined by Representatives Jackie Walorksi (IN-02), Diana DeGette (CO-01), and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01)—led over 150 Members on a letter to Alex M. Azar, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, urging more funding for community health centers (CHCs), which are safety-net providers on the frontlines of combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the National Association of Community Health Centers, CHCs located in the 16th Congressional District of New York serve nearly 400,000 patients. New York CHCs have allocated tremendous resources to help care for vulnerable communities during this outbreak, including testing for COVID-19 and providing follow-up care to those discharged from the hospital after getting COVID-19 treatment. According to the Community Health Care Association of New York State, at the pandemic’s start the state’s CHCs collectively lost $30 million in revenue per week. To support these safety-net providers, Congressman Engel’s letter urges Secretary Azar to provide funding from the $175 billion Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, which he helped create, to CHCs.

“My district is at the center of the nation’s coronavirus outbreak,” said Rep. Engel. “Community health centers in my district were doing outstanding work long before this pandemic hit and now are playing a critical role in helping those affected by the virus. But they must have the resources to do so. We have already procured $76 million in funding for community health centers in New York during this pandemic, but we need more. I will continue to press the Trump Administration to provide funding for New York community health centers, which are fighting day and night to end this outbreak.”

 “We are incredibly grateful to our members of Congress who have recognized the critical role of community health centers in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and moving our country towards a healthier future,” said Anne K. Nolon, CEO of HRHCare. “We thank Congressman Engel for his leadership in ensuring that CHCs receive allocated funds from the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, as we continue our front-line work with COVID-19 and prepare for an ensuing wave of primary care follow-up requests, as our country recovers from this pandemic.”

 “For decades, Community Health Centers have provided high quality, comprehensive care to anyone who needs it. Now CHCs need help to continue that mission,” said Rose Duhan, President and CEO of CHCANYS. “As New York fights its way back from this pandemic, we are incredibly grateful to Congressman Engel for fighting for CHCs in Washington, demanding priority funding in any future aid packages so CHCs can continue to be there for the communities that need them most, now and for years to come.”

“Health centers throughout the country are playing a critical role in medically underserved areas, ramping up operations to address COVID-19, launching testing sites and expanding telehealth to safely provide care to patients from their homes – but they are not immune to the financial challenges this crisis has brought,”said Steve Carey, Chief Strategy Officer of the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC).  “We are deeply grateful for the leadership of Representatives Engel, Walorksi, DeGette and Fitzpatrick to ensure additional support for health centers serving on the front lines of COVID-19 by specifically requesting that forthcoming funding from the Provider Relief Fund is directed to Community Health Centers.”

As Co-Dean of the New York Delegation and a top Member of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, Congressman Engel has led the effort to secure federal funding for New York’s community health centers. On April 4th, Congressman Engel led the New York House Delegation on a letter to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which manages CHC funding, urging the agency to prioritize funding for New York CHCs. On April 8, HRSA awarded $76 million to New York CHCs, including $2 million for the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center and $5.8 million for Hudson River Health Care, which serve his constituents. He also helped secure $40 million to help New York CHCs increase coronavirus testing, including $3.8 million Hudson River Health Care, $1.8 million for Bronx Community Health Network, and $392,000 for Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center.