Coastal Family Health Center facing funding concerns

Coastal Family Health Center facing funding concerns

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Coastal Family Health Center provides low cost health care to around 36,000 patients a year in eleven facilities across South Mississippi.

But even with a recently awarded $175,000 grant, the center is still dealing with a possible multi-million dollar budget shortfall.

"We do not turn people away because of their inability to pay," said CEO Angel Greer. "We're going to meet their primary health care needs to the extent possible."

Much of the low cost care is made possible from federal funding. However, the program to fund community health centers expires on Sept. 30. If Congress doesn't take action, 70 percent of federal funds could be cut.

Those cuts could mean a loss of $5 million for Greer and her center, translating into possible layoffs and a reduction in health care options for her patients.

"A month to month resolution does not bode well when you're trying to recruit physicians, when you're trying to pay the work force, and you're trying to keep the doors open to sights and services," Greer said.

For now, Charles Buckley and his family are hopeful the center will continue providing the care they've become used to.

"It would be a lot of people that really need this and if they take it away it would just be terrible and it won't be a good facility," Buckley said.

A statement from Congressman Steven Palazzo said:

"Today the House passed an appropriations bill that contains $1.4 billion dollars for community health centers, an increase over last year's funding levels. Congress must also reauthorize the Community Health Center Fund before the program expires on September 30th.  A bill to reauthorize the CHCF was introduced yesterday, and I am currently in the process of reviewing this legislation.

Anyone looking for more information about the community health center funding can visit: http://www.hcadvocacy.org/.

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