Relief in Sight for Federally Qualified Health Centers
At a subcommittee hearing last month, Robert MtJoy, CEO of Cornerstone Care, Inc., a FQHC serving about 23,000 people in rural southwest Pennsylvania, testified that access to affordable primary care continues to be one of the most persistent challenges in healthcare.
"Research indicates that approximately 60 million Americans live in a community without access to a primary care provider. While health centers are engaged in many workforce development initiatives, one immediate solution to alleviate this workforce shortage is the use of volunteer providers," MtJoy told the subcommittee.
"By extending FTCA coverage to include volunteer providers, there will be more providers available to meet the needs of the millions of patients who still lack access to care. Recruitment and retention of healthcare providers is one of the greatest challenges I have. And unfortunately the looming critical shortage of primary care physicians will be more profoundly felt in rural areas like mine. We've got an aging physician population getting ready to retire and this bill allows us to take advantage of this valuable resource to assist us in addressing this shortage."
While this bill seems likely to pass, it won't hurt if healthcare clinicians and executives from across the nation contact their representatives in Congress to ensure that they intend to vote for it. In fact, anyone who supports improving access to primary care should encourage Congress to support The Family Health Care Accessibility Act.
It makes sense for mission and margin.
John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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