(The Center Square) – With state budget negotiations ongoing, some Illinois lawmakers and health officials are requesting a piece of the pie for community health centers.
Officials with the Illinois Primary Health Care Association, which represents 53 Federally Qualified Health Centers around the state, want increased funding to address what they call inadequate community health center payment rates, and insufficient behavioral health rates.
Advocates say a $100 million increase in funding could allow federally qualified health centers to care for 180,000 more people each year and hire an additional 250 health care providers. The federal government would cover half of the funding.
“It is imperative that we make proper investments in health care to ensure equity in our system,” said Ollie Idowu, president and CEO of the Illinois Primary Health Care Association.
State Rep. Anna Moeller, D-Elgin, is sponsoring House Bill 2298 that would increase reimbursement rates for meeting patients’ medical, dental, and behavioral health needs under the Medicaid program.
“The COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on two undeniable truths,” Moeller said. “One, that there is a stark inequity in our health care system, and two, that we must do a better job in investing in health care for underserved communities.”
A new study led by a School of Public Health researcher has found that nearly all FQHC quality-of-care performance measures, as well as overall visit volumes, plummeted during the first year of the pandemic, and the decreases persisted into 2021.
The funding request will be submitted as part of state budget negotiations leading up to the scheduled May 19 adjournment of the spring legislative session.
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April 20, 2023 at 09:49PM