As its members work tirelessly to meet the extensive health care challenges of hurricane-ravaged areas of the Florida Panhandle, the Florida Association of Community Health Centers (FACHC) has established a relief fund to help affected health centers and their employees cope with the impacts they suffered. [Read more…] about Florida’s Association of Community Health Centers Aiding Panhandle Centers and Employees with Hurricane Relief Fund
Florida Association of Community Health Centers
Program Expands During National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month
A new health initiative to combat childhood obesity in Miami-Dade launched this week. MEND 7-13 — Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do it! — is a new program designed to combat childhood obesity among children age 7-13 by educating families on the importance of proper nutrition. [Read more…] about Florida’s Community Health Centers Combat Childhood Obesity with Launch of MEND Program
A state agency plan to change the way community health centers can draw down $50 million in indigent care funding could drive some centers out of business, shutting the door on a key part of Florida’s health care safety net in some communities. That was the message delivered by the Florida Association of Community Health Centers in a news conference call Tuesday afternoon.
Andrew Behrman, President & CEO of the Florida Association of Community Health Centers, was joined by the heads of three centers around the state to urge the state Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to drop consideration of a proposal that would run all health center reimbursement payments through managed care organizations. They said the organizations would introduced inefficiency and potential loss of payments, at a time when many of the state’s centers are struggling to keep their doors open. AHCA is to discuss the requirement at a meeting tomorrow.
“Our centers represent the largest safety net provider system in the state, and without them uninsured or underinsured low-income Floridians would have nowhere to turn for their health care needs,” Behrman said. “The last thing these Floridians need is for their health care to be tied up in bureaucratic delays caused by unwarranted administrative hoops.”
Behrman was joined by Dr. Michael Gervasi, CEO of Florida Community Health Centers, based in West Palm Beach; Brad Herremans, CEO of Suncoast Community Health Center, based in Brandon; and Annie R. Neasman, CEO of Jessie Trice Community Health Center in Miami. Together, they called for AHCA keep the bureaucracy of managed care organizations out of the vital process of reimbursing community health centers for uncompensated care.
“It is simply no exaggeration to say that for thousands of people in our community, the work we perform is a matter of life and death,” Dr. Gervasi said. He noted that without community health centers, most of those patients would have no choice but to seek treatment in an emergency room, and considerably higher cost to taxpayers.
According to figures compiled by the association, community health centers have saved Florida taxpayers more than $1.6 billion that otherwise would be spent to care for poor residents in more costly emergency rooms. The 48 centers are Florida’s Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), and together they treated over 1.4 million patients last year. Their patients included 41 percent who receive Medicaid, 7 percent Medicare, 36 percent uninsured, and 16 percent with commercial or VA coverage.
State funding for the FQHCs was cut from $9 million in 2016-17 to $6 million in 2017-18, funds that will be supplemented by $50 million included in the $1.5 billion LIP fund.
Neasman, who is a registered nurse, said some of Florida’s community health centers are already owed $1 million or more in reimbursements for care they already provided to patients.
“If those funds don’t flow soon, some centers will be in real trouble,” she said. “There’s no incentive for managed care companies to make it easy for our centers to receive the money we’re owed. This inherent conflict may serve the interests of the managed care organizations, but it doesn’t help us – and it sure doesn’t help our patients.”
Herremans noted that Florida’s FQHCs must treat everyone who walks in the door. “That’s a requirement, but it’s also our mission. So we will continue to do so, with or without the money, for as long as we can,” he said. “But by erecting unnecessary barriers that keep us from accessing these funds, Florida may suffer the unintended consequence of driving some of these centers out of business.”
Lawmakers will join FACHC members to champion the role they play in providing
high-quality healthcare to Florida’s low-income and vulnerable populations
Tomorrow, Florida’s leading advocate for community-based health care programs, the Florida Association of Community Health Centers (FACHC), will hold a press conference alongside Florida’s elected leaders to discuss the vital role its members serve in providing quality healthcare to local communities across the state.
For more than 35 years, community health centers have provided high-quality primary care, preventive and wrap-around services to those who need it most. FACHC serves more than 1.3 million Floridians at over 450 locations statewide with:
- 35% of its patients uninsured;
- 43% of its patients enrolled in Medicaid; and
- 90% of its patients reporting income below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.
“Amid changes taking place across the healthcare spectrum, FACHC has and will continue to fulfill its mission to improve access to quality health services, no matter an individual’s ability to pay,” said Andy Behrman, president and CEO of FACHC. “We thank the legislature for its continued support, and look forward to working with them this year to educate and advocate on behalf of Florida’s community health centers and the patients they serve.”
For more information about FACHC and its members, visit www.fachc.org.
WHAT: Press conference to discuss the important role FACHC and its community-based healthcare members plays to provide high-quality care to patients across Florida.
WHO: Participants to be on hand at Tuesday’s press conference include:
· FACHC President and CEO, Andy Behrman
· CEO of Tampa Family Health Centers, Charlie Bottoms
· Representative and Minority Leader, Janet Cruz
· Senator Aaron Bean
· CEO Agape Community Health Center and former member of the House of Representatives, Mia Jones
WHEN: Tuesday, February 7, 2017
11:30 a.m. – noon
WHERE: Fourth Floor Rotunda
404 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100