Skip to main content

Community Clinics Facing Financial Cliff

Dr. Cesar Barba (right), a family physician at the UMMA Community Clinic's Fr...

Photo by Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Above: Dr. Cesar Barba (right), a family physician at the UMMA Community Clinic's Fremont Wellness Center in South Los Angeles, treats Lourdes Flores Valdez, 42, for her diabetes and other health issues.

Community clinics provide care to anyone who needs it, regardless of their ability to pay.

But that mission is in jeopardy — $3.6 billion in federal funds clinics rely on to stay in business will run out on Sept. 30.

Clinic officials warn if Congress fails to reauthorize that funding by the deadline, they may be forced to lay off doctors, cut services, and in some case, close their doors altogether.

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

Todd said community clinics have faced financial deadlines before.

"But we have never gotten to the point that we’re 15 days away from the end of the year, without knowing our funding for the next year," she said. "This is a first.”

There is bipartisan support for community clinics in Congress. Even so, Todd said it’s unclear whether Congress will take action before the deadline.

A bulk of the federal money community clinics rely on will run out at the end of the month, unless Congress takes action.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.