By Jessica Sharac, Peter Shin, Sara Rosenbaum
In 2019, on the eve of the COVID-19 pandemic, federally-funded and look-alike community health centers served over 30 million medically underserved patients across thousands of rural and urban communities. In 6 states and the District of Columbia,
community health centers cared for at least 3 in 10 Medicaid/CHIP beneficiaries. Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, community health centers have played a vital role in making COVID-19 testing and care available in the poorest and most at-risk communities. They also have experienced financial losses estimated at nearly $2.9 billion to date as the pandemic has forced a major rollback in other services, site closures, and staff layoffs. The Community Health Center Fund — accounting for over 70 percent of federal health center operating grant revenue — will expire at the end of November 2020, even as patient revenue remains far below levels needed to sustain services.
The issue brief is available here.