The threat to federal funding for KAMU and its community health centers has been diffused. Congress has reauthorized funding that, if not passed, would have cut 60-70 percent of funding from health centers across the country. For Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in Kansas, their current funding of $16.4 million would have been reduced by over $11.5 million, leaving only $4.9 million to care for underserved Kansans.
The bill, House Relief 2, has been approved by both the US Congress and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support. It is now expected to be signed into law by President Obama. Once a law, $7.2 billion in mandatory funding will be earmarked to serve the Health Centers Program for the next two years.
KAMU has been advocating to restore this funding for its member health centers for the past several months with help from the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). In March, KAMU and eight of its member clinics attended the NACHC Policy and Public Affairs Forum in Washington D.C., to further KAMU’s advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill. The group met with Representative Lynn Jenkins and staffers from each of Kansas Congressional members, as well as staffers of Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran.
“We are thankful for our Kansas lawmakers in Washington for passing this bill and reauthorizing funding to our health centers,” said Denise Cyzman, KAMU Executive Director.
The bill will authorize funding for two years.