SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) – Community health centers in Illinois say they need more money to give patients the care they need.
Proposals in the Capitol would give $100 million to help with that.
The centers, also known as Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), provide care to patients without insurance and to others regardless of their ability to pay.
“Without community health centers, our patient population would undoubtedly face difficulties accessing care,” Linnea Windel, the CEO of VNA Health Care, said.
One of those FQHCs is Crossing Healthcare in Decatur.
“We really do our very best to meet people where they are and make sure that they can get culturally competent, high-quality health care,” Tanya Andricks, the center’s CEO, said.
But with rising costs and a workforce shortage, Andricks and other centers say they need more money from the state to keep doing their jobs.
“We compete with our peers across the state to hire people to work in our health centers and when you’re not able to pay a competitive salary, it’s really hard to hire staff,” Andricks said.
There are 53 centers across the state, and some showed support Wednesday for proposals that would raise the reimbursement rate they receive from Medicaid.
“These health centers have been historically under resourced, and due to the demand that we see in our communities for affordable and high quality health care, this legislation is vitally important,” State Rep. Anna Moeller (D-Elgin), the bill’s House sponsor, said.
FQHC’s see more than 1.5 million people a year at more than 400 locations. Supporters say the extra dollars will help them bring in and keep more staff.
“Increased funding would allow us to meet the needs of our patients and families and position us to recruit and retain clinical providers and staff who are accepting jobs in neighboring states where reimbursement rates allow them to offer more competitive salaries and benefits,” Verneda Bachus, the CEO of Friend Family Health Center, said.
The Illinois Primary Health Care Association said the extra dollars will help community health centers provide care to another 180,000 patients a year, hire 250 more providers and offer new or other services such as dental care and substance use treatment.
Half of the $100 million would come from the federal government.
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April 20, 2023 at 09:32PM