2/22/2011 11:19 AM
Members of the House of Representatives recently approved a Continuing Resolution that proposes to cut $1.3 billion in funding for Community Health Centers, which will eliminate affordable health care services for millions of Americans, including approximately 77,170 Hoosiers, according to the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). This resolution was approved by a vote of 235-189 and will now move to the Senate for discussion.
“It is easy to see that there are a lot of flaws in our nation’s health care system, but one of the pieces that does work is Community Health Centers,” said Toni Estep, CEO of Open Door Health Services. “The average cost of care at a Community Health Center is $1.67 per patient per day, compared to the US average of $2.64 at all physician offices. If patients no longer have access to our services, they will go to the emergency room for minor issues, where the services that we provide cost up to three times more. Worse yet, they could go without care until it is too late and they end up in the emergency room because they weren’t able to manage their chronic conditions like hypertension, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease.”
Patients of Community Health Centers like Open Door Health Services will not be the only ones immediately affected by the funding cuts – an estimated 138 jobs will be lost in Indiana alone, with more than 7,000 jobs being cut nationwide.
Open Door Health Services employs 130 people in East Central Indiana and served nearly 17,500 patients in 2010. As Open Door Health Services is one of the largest Community Health Centers in Indiana, there is no doubt that if these cuts are made, Muncie will be affected in more ways than one.
According to Tom Van Coverden, President and CEO of (NACHC), “Cutting access to affordable primary and preventive health care in the middle of a recession will not solve our problems – in fact, it creates an even bigger crisis that the nation cannot afford.”