INDIANAPOLIS — Critical funding for Medicare and community health centers could expire next month if the federal government shuts down.
The Indiana Hospital Association said it is urging Congress to act before the Nov. 17 deadline to preserve quality care for Hoosiers.
The Indiana Hospital Association says it has a team in DC talking with lawmakers about the importance of this Medicare funding for Hoosiers.
This funding was initially set to expire when the government was on the verge of shutting down over the weekend. Congress now has until Nov. 17 to avert another government shutdown.
Congress also has until Nov. 17 to extend Medicare funding and funding for community health centers provided by the “Lower Costs, More Transparency Act.” That leaves centers such as the Indiana non-profit HealthNet in a state of financial limbo.
HealthNet’s Vice President Rene Kougel said 70% of the non-profit’s federal funding comes from that piece of legislation. With no guarantee that HealthNet will receive those funds after Nov. 17, she says long-term planning has been made that much more difficult.
HealthNet currently operates ten healthcare centers and 11 school-based health centers. Kougel said several services those centers provide, including primary care, dental, behavioral health, chiropractic, Title X, and homelessness initiatives those centers could be impacted by a shutdown.
”HealthNet is one of 35 community health centers here in Indiana, and we served over 60,000 patients here in Central Indiana alone, so you can imagine if that appropriations bill is not passed, the potential impact it could have in this country,” Kougel said.
At the state level, the General Assembly provided $225 million over the next two years for community health initiatives. However, Kougel said HealthNet won’t see a penny of those dollars.
Kougel also mentioned historically, community health centers have received bipartisan support from Congress. She said she hopes Congress can work towards a permanent solution to guarantee those dollars soon.