Leading Efforts To Reauthorize Community Health Centers
Health Centers are built through community initiative. They make health care responsive and cost effective through aggressive outreach, patient education, translation, and other enabling support services.
We introduced this legislation because we have seen the benefits of the Health Center Program on our communities, said Congressman Gene Green. This program has become so effective that it enjoys unprecedented bi-partisan support, from both the Congress and the Bush Administration.
The Administrations budget proposal requests just under $2 billion in FY 2007 for the Health Center Program. The Green/Bilirakis Health Center Reauthorization bill would authorize the Presidens request for FY2007 and would authorize any necessary funding to be spent in FY2008-2011.
Health centers do not provide care free of charge, while they do not turn away patients due to an inability to pay, every patient pays something based on a sliding scale. With 46 million Americans currently living without health insurance, health centers have become a critical feature of our countrys safety net. Without health centers to provide quality primary and preventive care, the uninsured would most likely forgo health care or seek care from our hospital emergency rooms.
Of the more than 14 million Americans served by health centers, 75 percent are either uninsured or Medicaid beneficiaries. If these individuals are given the option of going to one of these Health Centers, they will be less inclined to end up at an emergency room, continued Congressman Gene Green. By providing primary and preventive care to the uninsured, these health centers save hospitals and county taxpayers millions of dollars. This also frees up hospital emergency rooms and the costs they incur.
Health centers are developed and rooted in their communities. 51 percent of the Board of Directors for Health Centers are health center patients. With a community board governing the health center, patients are assured that all health center policies have been developed with the needs of patients in mind.