CHCs, underserved communities to face difficulty due to sequestration

The Geiger Gibson/RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS) has unleashed a report unto the healthcare industry revealing the potential impact that the sequestration could have on community health centers and patient communities.

The report finds that nearly 1,200 federally funded health centers will suffer the loss of $120 million in grant funding — a financial blow that would transpire into 900,000 fewer patients being medically assessed and 3 million fewer health visits being booked.

"Given who health centers serve and where they are located, it is not surprising that our findings reveal that the funding reductions will hit the most vulnerable patients the hardest," said lead author Peter Shin, PhD, MPH, an associate professor of health policy at SPHHS, in a new release.

All 8,500 health center service locations are expected to face affect due to the sequestration in one way or another. Staffing and service cuts will also undoubtedly be made as a result of the $120 million grant deduction and, the report analysts projected, an additional $230 million loss will be weathered by third party insurance revenues necessary in their support of operations. What’s more, “the analysis shows that the cuts will disproportionately impact the poorest Americans, children, young families, and members of ethnic and racial minority groups, as well individuals with serious and chronic health care needs.”

The report portrayed those 900,000 patients set to the face the harshest consequences as such:

All data and information courtesy of the report: "Assessing the Potential Impact of Sequestration on Community Health Centers, Patients, and Medically Underserved Communities." Presentation by PhysBizTech.

"Our communities rely on health centers to provide care to more than 20 million people each year, and that number was expected to increase dramatically when the Affordable Care Act took full effect," concluded Julio Bellber, President and CEO of the RCHN Community Health Foundation. "The funding cuts are a real threat to the health and well-being of our medically disenfranchised communities."

Find the report in its entirety here.