KATHY SATHER: Health center funding cliff

I have worked in health care for many years, and I have seen the faces of the people who lack access to care and the effects it has on them. Having an insurance card does not guarantee having a place to go to get the care you need. Community health centers, like Family Health Care’s health centers in Grant, White Cloud, Baldwin, and Great Lakes Family Care in Cadillac and McBain, are the solution to that problem for 23 million Americans and 60,000 of our local friends and neighbors. Yet more people need our help. A critical source of funding that enables health centers like ours to maintain the services we provide today, and to care for more people in need, is set to expire in 2015. If Congress doesn’t act to fix the health center funding cliff, the operational support Family Health Care (Great Lakes Family Care) receives could be reduced by as much as 70 percent. This would be disastrous for our patients and our community.

Family Health Care has served the community since 1967. We are part of a nationwide network of community health centers that serve one in 15 people living in the U.S., including more than 250,000 veterans, in more than 9,000 communities. Our doors are open to every community resident in need of care today and they depend on us being there for them in the future.

The essential health care we provide not only improves the well-being of individuals, families and the community, but it is affordable, cost-effective, and reduces unnecessary visits to hospital emergency rooms. We are proud to be part of the network that saves the health care system $24 billion every year.

I am grateful there are bipartisan leaders on Capitol Hill who recognize health centers like ours must have the resources necessary to care for the patients who rely on us today and to meet the growing demand for care. Thank you to Rep. Bill Huizenga, who joined 249 of his colleagues in the U.S. House in sending a letter to Congressional leadership calling for a bipartisan solution to the health center funding cliff. A fix cannot come soon enough for people in need of care. I urge every citizen to tell Congress how important health centers like Family Health Care are, and to ask them to continue supporting the services we provide.


Kathy Sather

President and CEO