With federal funding for CHCs set to expire today, Maine Senators continue to push for long-term solution
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On National Rural Health Day, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine) announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded a total of $2,974,548 in funding to two community health center networks, which will be used to bolster multiple locations in central, western, and northern Maine. Senators Collins and King are avid supporters of community health centers (CHCs) – just last month, they joined a bipartisan group of 25 Senators in a push to secure long-term federal funding for CHCs, which is set to expire today.
“Community health centers are the backbone of Maine’s rural healthcare system, providing cost-effective primary and preventive care that is crucial to the wellbeing of more than 200,000 Maine people,” said Senator Collins and King in a joint statement. “We welcome this grant, and will continue working with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to push for long-term federal funding that ensures CHCs can continue to provide vital healthcare services to Maine people.”
Both Senators Collins and King are original cosponsors of the Community Health Investment, Modernization, and Excellence (CHIME) Act, which would reauthorize the Community Health Center Fund (CHCF) and the National Health Service Corps for five years. Senator Collins has also been a strong advocate for the Lower Health Care Costs Act of 2019, which would reauthorize programs that support access to health care in rural areas, including the Community Health Centers program. CHCs serve approximately 29 million patients at over 10,000 sites in both rural and urban communities in every state in the nation. In 2017, community health centers were the medical home for one in twelve Americans, one in ten children, one in six Americans living in rural areas, and more than 330,000 of our nation’s veterans.
This funding was awarded through the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Health Center Cluster Program at HHS, which is tasked with improving access to health care by building healthy communities, strengthening the health care workforce, and achieving health equity. HRSA’s programs target the economic and medically vulnerable as well as the geographically isolated. Specifically, Health Access Network (HAN), headquartered in Lincoln, has received $1,283,092, and Healthreach Community Health Centers, headquartered in Waterville, has received $1,691,456. HAN operates locations in Lincoln, Lee, Medway, Millinocket, and West Enfield. Healthreach Community Health Centers operates locations in Belgrade, Bethel, Bingham, Albion, Madison, Mt. Abram, Rangeley, Richmond, Strong, Sheepscot, and Livermore Falls.