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Deadline Looms For Community Health Center Funding

A nurse performs her work at a community health clinic.
Sabin Institute
Flickr/Creative Commons,
File photo of a nurse performs her work at a community health clinic.

It’s coming down to the wire for Congress to approve continued funding for Community Health Centers across the U.S., including 39 organizations in North Carolina that serve half a million people.Brian Toomey, CEO of Piedmont Health Services, says they are bracing for cuts if the federal government doesn’t act. Piedmont Health Services runs 10 clinics and two other sites.

“For us it is about 13 percent of our budget,” he said. “While that’s 13 percent, it’s not 50 percent like some of our colleagues are facing, 13 percent means you have to make some significant cuts, and that’s the part that we are trying to look at now.”

The deadline to renew funding for "CHIP," the Children’s Health Insurance Program, is also at the end of the month.

Toomey said patients from 14 counties visit their clinics and nearly half don’t have insurance. He says it’s a frustrating time.

“The last time health centers went through something like this was back in the mid-1980s, that’s how significantly different this is,” he said.

Leoneda Inge is WUNC’s race and southern culture reporter, the first public radio journalist in the South to hold such a position. She also is co-host of the podcast Tested and host of the special podcast series, PAULI. Leoneda is the recipient of numerous awards from AP, RTDNA and NABJ. She’s been a reporting fellow in Berlin and Tokyo. You can follow her on Twitter @LeonedaInge.
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