Washington, DC: Lost in the madness of the mini-government shutdown was a very important win Medicare recipients. It was a bill championed by Florida Congressman Gus Bilirakis to save health centers.
Congressman Bilirakis’s bill to ensure that the 25 million Americans who receive their health care through Community Health Centers can continue to do so, was included as part of the bi-partisan budget bill. The Community CARE Act provides full funding and reauthorizes this critical, program for another two years. In the 12th Congressional district alone, thousands of patients receive primary care, dental, and mental health services at Premier in Pasco County and Community Health Centers of Pinellas County. Nationwide more than 7 million children and 300,000 Veterans utilize these community health centers, which offer high quality care in a cost efficient manner. Community Health Centers truly serve as a medical home for underserved patients including the uninsured, underinsured, and working poor. Their patient-centered approach fosters a close partnership between the patient and physician in order to promote positive health outcomes and coordinate follow-up care through appropriate case management. This delivery model greatly reduces duplication of services and drives down the overall cost of health care. This is the second time Congressman Bilirakis’s language has passed the House since October; however, it has never previously been tied to a funding bill that is needed for continued operation of the federal government.
“Community Health Centers are an example of what is working in our health care system. They have a proven track record and have previously enjoyed widespread, bi-partisan support. I just recently held a roundtable to speak with patients and physicians of local community health centers in my district. They shared countless stories about their positive experiences. I am glad they will continue to receive care without an interruption in service,” said Bilirakis.