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Community health centers rely on federal funding to help low-income patients

Posted at 4:30 AM, Jan 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-25 07:36:28-05

CINCINNATI -- While the federal government is back open, community health centers are still waiting to see if Congress will approve their funding. 

HealthSource of Ohio is the largest community health center in the state. They're waiting for Congress to approve $5 million in funding. 

"In September, the federal funding for health centers, as everybody likes to say, went over the cliff," HealthSource of Ohio President and CEO Kimberly Patton said. 

HealthSource of Ohio has more than 60,000 low-income patients a year in eight counties. Their Eastgate location is their largest. Others are in rural areas.

"In many rural communities, there is no health care if the health centers aren't there," Patton said. 

Congress needs to pass a continuing resolution by Feb. 8. But community health center officials said they need a permanent fix.

"Our elected officials hear us. But we need them to not just hear us, we need them to act," Patton said. 

Without the $5 million for HealthSource of Ohio, their patients and workers will be impacted. 

"We would stop expanding. We would have to reduce services," Patton said. "We would probably have to lay off staff."

Some smaller community health centers may not survive, Patton said.