Pallone and NJ Health Leaders Discuss GOP Failure to Continue Funding for Community Health Centers and other Important Health Programs
New Brunswick, N.J. – Today at Eric B. Chandler Health Center in New Brunswick, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) met with New Jersey healthcare leaders to discuss the future of several crucial health programs which expired in 2017. Many have faced cuts and challenges during the Trump administration, and they must be extended or reauthorized.
The lack of funding for New Jersey’s 23 federally-funded Community Health Center organizations, with a combined 144 delivery sites, has been put in jeopardy as a result of inaction by Congress. The sites serve 511,947 patients. Of these patients, 30% are uninsured and 55% are covered by Medicaid.
While six-year funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program was addressed via the previous Continuing Resolution, there still remains an urgent need to reauthorize or extend other important health programs that expired in 2017, including: the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visitation (MIECV) program, the Community Health Center Fund, Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payment caps, and Medicare programs (i.e. physical therapy cap & State Health Insurance Assistance Program).
The lack of reauthorization for these programs will have a significant impact on New Jersey including:
- Without immediate action from Congress to address reimbursement caps for occupational, and physical and speech therapies, vulnerable seniors with serious medical conditions, such as those recovering from a stroke, could have difficulty accessing necessary therapy services as they quickly hit the cap.
- Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments are made to qualifying hospitals that serve a large number of Medicaid and uninsured individuals. Without payments to these hospitals care to the most vulnerable will be jeopardized.
- In New Jersey, Medicare funds State Health Insurance Programs (SHIP) is managed by the State’s Department of Human Services Division of Aging Services. In particular, SHIPs offer local, personalized counseling and assistance to people with Medicare. SHIPs help seniors by answering their Medicare questions regarding benefits and enrollment. Cuts to SHIP would affect the free counseling services available for seniors nationwide and negatively impact organizations like the Jewish Family Services of Middlesex County and Family and Children’s Services located in Long Branch.
- Failure to reauthorize MIECHV would jeopardize funding for resources for families through home visiting programs, which are used to improve health and developmental outcomes for at-risk children.
“Community Health Centers and so many other health programs that Republicans have ignored make a real difference right here in New Jersey,” said Pallone. “Without funding thousands of New Jerseyans will go without care and an undue burden will be put on our state, county and local governments to make up the difference. We cannot afford to wait a moment longer to reauthorize these key programs.”
The Eric B. Chandler Health Center is a comprehensive, family-oriented community health center, jointly operated by the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Eric B. Chandler Community Board, Inc. The Center opened in October 1987.
The Center provides primary care services, including: family medicine; internal medicine; infectious disease (HIV counseling, testing, and treatment); pediatrics (including Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) and child well-care); obstetrics and gynecology; podiatry; family planning; and dentistry (including preventive, restoration, and curative). It also provides social services, community outreach, nutrition, health education, and laboratory services.
Participants in the discussion included Sandra Hill, Executive Director/CEO of Chandler Health Center; Kelsey McMillen, Policy and Outreach Coordinator, New Jersey Primary Care Association; Paul Vidal, PT, DPT, President – American Physical Therapy Association of NJ;
Colleen Nelson –Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) Health Group; Teresa Lee –Visiting Nurse Association Health Group, Chief Government Affairs Officer; Kristine I McCoy, MD, MPH | Executive Director & Chair, Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey Community Health Center; Gina Hernandez, Sr VP at Prevent Child Abuse NJ; Crystal McDonald – AARP NJ.