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Local Clinic Fears of Losing Federal Funds

February 06, 2018 07:23 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- A local clinic, that mostly helps low-income communities, is facing an uncertain future.

Right now Community Health Service Inc. in Rochester says it’s dependent on a federal grant to continue to treat patients in dire need of its services.

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Maria Guerrero is one of those patients who has been going to the clinic for about 15 years.

"We have more accessibility here to the doctors, to medication, whatever you need. At a lower price,” said Guerrero.

Cristina Fernandez, the Community Engagement Coordinator, says Guerrero has been keeping her diabetes in check, thanks in part, to help from the clinic.

"We definitely see people that are either underinsured, where they have insurance and have a very high deductible. But mostly very low-income people,” said Fernandez.

However, Kristi Halvarson, the clinics executive director, says it’s in fear of losing what's known as its "community health center fund" which has yet to be approved by Congress.

"We're at risk of losing 70 percent of our federal funding if Congress doesn't reauthorize that. So with the continuing resolution that's expiring on Thursday, we're really just trying to generate some awareness to make sure Congress takes care of this,” said Halvarson. 

And in turn, it would help the clinic continue to take care of its patients and employees.

"There are over 1,300 health centers across the country and we're all in that same boat so we're really just hoping to get this fixed as soon as possible. We've been patient for long enough and it's really impacting our ability to deliver care to millions of people across the country,” said Halvarson.

"Probably sooner rather than later, we're gonna have to start looking at what we're going to cut. We won't be able to serve our patients the way we have been up to now if we don't have the certainty of having that funding coming through,” added Fernandez.

Consequences that could possibly leave patients like Maria Guerrero without treatment.

The U.S. House of Representatives could vote on the issue as soon as Tuesday night.


Credits

Roxanne Elias

Copyright 2018 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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