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Community Health Clinics Still Waiting For Long-Term Funding

Vernita Todd, senior vice president of Health Center Partners of Southern Cal...

Credit: Nic McVicker

Above: Vernita Todd, senior vice president of Health Center Partners of Southern California, Oct. 4, 2017. Todd said community clinics may have to lay off staff and cut services if Congress doesn't renew clinics' long-term funding soon.

Community health clinics got a last-minute reprieve from Congress just before Christmas, in the form of some desperately needed stop-gap funds.

But clinics' long-term funding remains up in the air.

The continuing resolution Congress approved on Dec. 21 provides $550 million for community health clinics.

That money funds clinics only through the end of February.

Vernita Todd, senior vice president of Health Center Partners of Southern California, a network of 17 community clinics in San Diego, Riverside and Imperial counties, said clinics need a stable source of funding.

“Our health centers don’t operate in this last-minute fashion like Congress is operating right now, and so many of them are still with contingency and scenario plans about reorganization or staff closures, so it’s touch and go," she said.

Todd said lawmakers support community clinics, but they are at odds at how to pay for them.

Congress will revisit the matter next month.

Congress has given community clinics some stop-gap funding, but it won't take them very far in 2018.

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