By: The Editor
The Paper, February 12, 2015
CONROE, TX (2/11/2015) – As part of a delegation representing Texas Association of Community Health Centers (TACHC), leadership from Lone Star Family Health Center (LSFHC) and community health centers statewide met with over 100 House members and the majority of the senate in Austin to remind them of the significant impact projected health center funding cuts will have on the health of the state. “Health Centers likely face a 70% cut in federal funding on October 1st unless Congress takes action. This translates into at least 200,000 Texans losing access to affordable primary healthcare every year, and the closure of community health centers that serve the poorest Texans” Dr. Stephen McKernan, CEO of LSFHC reminded Senator Brandon Creighton last week.
Community Health Centers (CHC) provide accessible, preventive care regardless of a patient’s ability to pay, and many of those served do not have insurance coverage. Texas is one of the states that opted not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. As a result, more than one million Texans below 100% of federal poverty do not have access to any type of coverage, and often times, CHCs serve as the only option available for these residents to receive healthcare outside of a hospital emergency room. Research shows that effective preventive care and chronic disease management reduce the need for more costly hospital emergency room care. In addition, non-urgent care at CHCs is up to 12 times less costly than the same care in hospital emergency rooms. “The estimated $133 million reduction per year in health center funding will result in clinic closures, provider and staff layoffs and a loss of access to care for many with no other place to turn”, shared Karrie Golden, COO of LSFHC. The delegation encouraged Senator Creighton to send letters of support to federal representatives to continue health center funding and discussed ways to close the coverage gap in Texas. Mrs. Golden reminded Senator Creighton, “Health centers are committed to finding a solution to close the coverage gap because it saves money in the health care system, eases local tax burdens, and ensures Texas taxpayer dollars are funneled back into the Texas economy. Additionally, with Lone Star being the home of the Conroe Family Medicine Residency program, our health center increases the number of primary care physicians available to Montgomery County and other areas of Texas.”
“Senator Creighton has been a friend of Lone Star for more than 7 years. He visits regularly and knows the work we do is important in and around Montgomery County. Senator Creighton recognizes the need for creative Texas solutions so the state may be able to close the gap while keeping the interests of patients and taxpayers foremost,” Dr. McKernan shared.
Founded in 2002, Lone Star Family Health Center is a Federally Qualified Health Center with a mission of providing high quality, easily accessible health services to the underserved and the community at large providing comprehensive primary care services for all ages. The health center’s main location is at 605 South Conroe Medical Drive next to Conroe Regional Medical Center with a satellite clinic in Spring, TX, at 440 Rayford Road, Suite 150. Appointments may be scheduled by calling 936.539.4004.
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