Shea-Porter Secures and Votes for Over $1.5 Million for NH Community Health Centers

WASHINGTON, DC Today, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter announced that the FY 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 3288), which passed the House yesterday, includes $1,725,000 in funding she secured for New Hampshire Community Health Centers.  This funding includes $1,250,000 for Bi-State Primary Care Association, $250,000 for the Manchester Community Health Center, and $225,000 for the Avis Goodwin Community Health Center in Dover.  The Consolidated Appropriations Act passed the House 221 to 202. 

This money is in addition to the $4,957,300 in funding the Avis Goodwin Center received from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  On Wednesday, Shea-Porter joined President Obama and other officials at the White House to announce that the Center was receiving ARRA funding.

Community Health Centers provide critical medical services to people in need of care,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter.I have seen the great services that these centers provide.  We must continue to invest in our local health care systems so that our most vulnerable citizens have a place to turn to if they fall ill.” 

"We continue to be so very fortunate to have a Congressional Delegation that understands and supports the value the Community Health Centers provide to their communities in delivering high quality primary health care for all," said Tess Kuenning, Executive Director of Bi-State Primary Care Association.

“This is the best holiday present for the Avis Goodwin Community Health Center staff and our patients,” said Janet Atkins, Executive Director of Avis Goodwin Community Health Center.  “We now realize the kind of support we have in the community through our representatives and that all of us together can make our dream come true and as a result provide better access to health care.” 

“Manchester Community Health Center is pleased to be included in the appropriation recently approved by the House,” said Ed George, President and CEO of Manchester Community Health Center.  “We are extremely fortunate to have the support of Congresswoman Shea-Porter and others as we further our mission to bring much needed primary care services to the areas most vulnerable citizens.  These resources will help assure that the services can continue uninterrupted and are delivered in a systematic and purposeful way.”

Descriptions of what funding for these Community Health Centers will be used for are below.

Bi-State Primary Care Association, Concord, NH, to support uncompensated care to treat uninsured and underinsured patients: $650,000

This uncompensated care funding will support medical, behavioral health and dental services for the increased cost to care for, and growing number of, uninsured and underinsured patients seen at New Hampshires Community Health Centers and safety net provider clinics.  Over the past five years, the number of uninsured patients Community Health Centers alone served increased by 45%, caring for approximately one-quarter of the states uninsured residents.  There is a well-documented connection between insurance coverage and access to care and healththe uninsured are more likely to go without needed care and have poorer health outcomes than those with insurance. The Community Health Centers and safety net providers financial health has been compromised due to an increased number of uninsured and underinsured being seen in their practices.  Resources to support the growing uninsured and underinsured are critical to the Community Health Centers and safety net providers financial health and survival.

Bi-State Primary Care, Concord, NH, for primary care workforce recruitment: $600,000

New Hampshire Community Health Centers and safety net providers are significantly challenged to recruit and retain a qualified primary care workforce to serve their patients.  Community Health Centers and safety net providers are seeing an increase in the average length of primary care provider vacancies with many positions taking 18 months or longer to fill.   This has a direct impact on access to primary and preventive health care, especially for the underserved, in communities throughout New Hampshire.  The funds will enable Community Health Centers and safety net providers to increase their ability to recruit doctors and dentists to work at Community Health Centers and safety net provider clinics.

Manchester Community Health Center, Manchester, NH for facilities and equipment: $250,000

Funds will be used to assist this non-profit, federally qualified health center, which is focused on serving the uninsured and underinsured in Greater Manchester, purchase the equipment needed for their new facility.

Avis Goodwin Community Health Center, Dover, NH for facilities and equipment: $225,000

Avis Goodwin is currently located in Rochester and Dover, with three clinical locations -- all of which are in need of repairs -- and one administrative building, within 15 miles of one another.  Avis Goodwin is currently at capacity and cannot add any additional providers.  This project will consolidate all four locations into one, in a building that is 3,600 square feet larger than the combination of the current facilities.  This will allow Avis Goodwin to provide health care to an additional 3,000 patients and 1,500 additional dental patients.  In addition, the consolidation saves AGCHC about $200,000 annually.