|July 14, 2005|
WASHINGTON—Forth Worth Northside Community Health Center has been designated a Federally Qualified Health Clinic (FQHC), along with nine other new designees in the state, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and U.S. Rep. Kay Granger announced Tuesday. Cornyn and Granger worked together to help secure the status and funding and said the designation will allow the center to better provide access to healthcare for many people who would otherwise be without primary care.
|Caitlin Carroll |
As part of its new status, Forth Worth Northside Community Health Center will receive a grant of $650,000 to provide health services to local low-income and uninsured Texans. The funding comes through the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) and is part of an effort to create new health care centers and expand the range of services offered by existing facilities. This project will create a new access point for the provision of comprehensive primary and preventive health care services.
“This funding will help ensure that area doctors and health care providers have the needed resources to continue providing preventive and comprehensive care for patients,” said Cornyn, a member of the Senate Republican Task Force on Health Care Costs and the Uninsured. “I’ll continue working in the Senate to make health care more accessible and affordable and to seek more support for community health centers. Helping the uninsured maintain a healthy lifestyle today is a lot cheaper than treating them in the emergency room tomorrow.”
“Serious health problems such as diabetes and heart disease which often result in obesity are a growing problem in Texas and Fort Worth. At the same time, the number of uninsured citizens is growing,” said Congresswoman Kay Granger. “Texas has the highest uninsured rate with 25 percent of its citizens without health insurance.” Granger continued: “I recently visited with University of North Texas Health Science Center researchers who are working with the Hispanic community on the North Side to finds ways to prevent diabetes and help those who already have the disease. The most valuable component of their diabetes research is the work the Northside Community Health Center because it is a state of the art health facility in the midst of the neighborhood.”
The Northside Community Health Center is the only community health center in my district, and the new federal funding will be vitally important to providing and expanding quality health care to constituents in Tarrant County who have serious health problems or who are uninsured.
Sen. Cornyn and Rep. Granger continue to help community health centers receive funding by working with them and HHS during the application process. Their offices regularly meet with federal, state and local officials, as well as community leaders to highlight the importance of more FQHCs in Texas. Sen. Cornyn and Rep. Granger have sent letters in support of Texas FQHCs and this round of funding. Sen. Cornyn has visited community health care centers across Texas and both the Senator and the Congresswoman support increasing their numbers while ensuring that the existing centers receive the funding they need to serve Texans well.
“The great thing about community health centers is they provide clinical—that is, non-emergency room—access to health care in your neighborhood, where you pay based on a sliding scale, based upon your ability to pay,” Cornyn said. “These are actually designated health centers by the federal government. They have access to a number of important programs, for example, the Federal 340B Drug Discount Program. The task force recommends that the program be expanded to more people, so we can bring down the price of prescription drugs.”
Within HHS is the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Consolidated Health Centers (CHCs) grant program, which provides for primary and preventative health care services in medically-underserved areas. The FQHC designation allows community health centers to qualify for federal funding from this administration, apply for reduced physician’s insurance and larger Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, and participate in a low cost prescription drug program. Access to these programs and funding will strengthen the state’s primary health care infrastructure and will expand health care and social service programs to better serve the health care needs of the state.