As the Chairman of the Board of the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center, which employs more than 300 and cares for 27,000 patients, I am alarmed that the U.S. House would consider cutting an effective program such as Community Health Centers, especially at a time when Congress should be seeking ways to contain unnecessary health care spending as well as protecting jobs. From Congress we continually hear the words “it’s all about jobs and the economy.” While providing much needed health care access, all 52 of New York’s Federally Qualified Health Centers are also providing a much needed economic boost and jobs for the underserved communities in which we are located. Federally Qualified Health Centers had an economic impact in 2009 for the state of New York totaling more than $1 Billion. And collectively, New York’s Federally Qualified Health Centers employed approximately 9,500 in 2009. Loss in federal funding now means loss in economic dollars for our communities and means job loss for the New Yorkers we employ.
The Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center has increased our services over the past two years to meet the ever-increasing demand for our services. Loss of funding will not make that demand go away but rather lead to wasteful, unnecessary health care spending as New Yorkers are left with no other alternative but to seek care in inappropriate, more costly settings such as hospital ERs. As the U.S. House and Senate deliberate on remaining FY 2011 appropriations, our community must make it clear that losing any Community Health Center funding is unacceptable. I am asking you, our community that we serve, to help us call on Congress to support the employees and patients at all of New York’s and the nation’s Federally Qualified Health Centers by maintaining level funding for the Health Center Program at $2.19 billion for fiscal year 2011.