New report analyzes potential impact of sequestration on CHCs and underserved communities

March 04, 2013

WASHINGTON and NEW YORK-- A new report by the Geiger Gibson/RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS) examines the potential impact of sequestration on community health centers and their patients and communities. "Assessing the Potential Impact of Sequestration on Community Health Centers, Patients, and Medically Underserved Communities" estimates that the nation's 1,200 federally funded health centers will lose $120 million in grant funding, and that this funding drop can be expected to translate into 900,000 fewer patients served and 3 million fewer visits. Furthermore, the authors find that because of its timing, sequestration's impact will be concentrated in the second half of FY 2013, thereby necessitating dramatic and immediate programmatic reductions that in turn will affect the local economies in which health centers operate.

"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," says lead author Peter Shin, PhD, MPH, an associate professor of health policy at SPHHS.

Sequestration is expected to affect all 8,500 health center service locations. The personnel and service cuts needed to absorb $120 million in grant funding losses can be expected to result in an additional loss of $230 million in third party insurance revenues needed to support operations. 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. Among the 900,000 patients losing access to health center services:"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, " said 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."
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The report can be accessed by clicking here: http://sphhs.gwu.edu/departments/healthpolicy/publications/GGRCHN.pdf

About the Geiger Gibson / RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative:

The Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health Policy, established in 2003 and named after human rights and health center pioneers Drs. H. Jack Geiger and Count Gibson, is part of the School of Public Health and Health Services at The George Washington University. It focuses on the history and contributions of health centers and the major policy issues that affect health centers, their communities, and the patients that they serve. Additional information about the Research Collaborative can be found online at www.gwumc.edu/sphhs/departments/healthpolicy/ggprogram or at rchnfoundation.org.

About the RCHN Community Health Foundation:

The RCHN Community Health Foundation is a not-for-profit operating foundation established to support community health centers through strategic investment, outreach, education, and cutting-edge health policy research. The only foundation in the U.S. dedicated solely to community health centers, RCHN CHF builds on a long-standing commitment to providing accessible, high-quality, community-based healthcare services for underserved and medically vulnerable populations. The Foundation's gift to the Geiger Gibson program supports health center research and scholarship. For more information, visit www.rchnfoundation.org.

About the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services:

Established in July 1997, the School of Public Health and Health Services brought together three longstanding university programs in the schools of medicine, business, and education and is now the only school of public health in the nation's capital. Today, more than 1,100 students from nearly every U.S. state and more than 40 nations pursue undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral-level degrees in public health. http://sphhs.gwu.edu/

George Washington University

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