WASHINGTON, D.C. – With applications for funding for eight Ohio Community Health Centers (CHCs) pending at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) urged HHS Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell to release outstanding grant funding to help support centers like Third Street Health Services meet the demand for services.
“Community Health Centers in Ohio and across the U.S. are critical access points for underserved patients,” said Brown. “Every Ohioan deserves access to care, and allowing these funds to sit at HHS and go unallocated is a disservice to communities in need. HHS should work to promptly award the funding Congress made available for CHCs to the approved, unfunded Ohio applications still pending at the Agency. In doing so, we can help ensure that more Ohioans can make use of the critical primary and preventive care services that CHCs provide.”
“These funds would give us the ability to put a community health center in Shelby, Ohio, where 16,049 residents from a largely rural area are living 200 percent under poverty,” said Jared Pollick, CEO of Third Street Family Health Services. “The health center we are planning to build with this funding would give us the ability to provide two primary care doctors, two dental providers and behavioral health providers where they are most needed .This would be a huge boon to the community.”
“Statewide, we see the increase in demand for access to quality care. We commend Senator Brown for his leadership and assistance in bringing together a bipartisan group of senators from across the country to highlight this opportunity that will strengthen our primary care delivery system,” said Randy Runyon, CEO and President of the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers. “Congress has acted, and communities throughout Ohio have answered the call. We join Senator Brown in respectfully asking the Department to release the outstanding grant funding as we stand ready to serve and welcome more Ohioans to their new health care homes.
In a letter to Secretary Burwell, Brown asked HHS to promptly award remaining fiscal year 2015 funding by granting approval of pending grant applications. Funding for the Community Health Center Fund was first made available through the health law, which boosted funding for community health centers’ primary and preventive care services.
Full text of the letter is below.