U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today introduced an amendment, which could be considered as part of the next COVID-19 relief legislation to ensure millions of Americans do not lose access to essential health-care services. Wicker’s amendment would provide $7.6 billion to community health centers and $225 million to rural health clinics.
“As Congress shapes the next phase of relief from the COVID-19 pandemic, the needs of community health centers and rural health clinics should not be overlooked. These frontline medical practices have played a vital role in fighting the coronavirus by offering testing and other services, reducing the strain on emergency rooms,” Wicker said. “They need additional federal support to continue this effort and maintain access to care for millions of Americans in rural and underserved areas.”
In June, Wicker and Senator Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., along with 39 of their colleagues sent a letter in support of additional emergency funding for community health centers. Wicker and Stabenow noted in their letter that community health centers anticipate $7.6 billion in lost revenue due to the pandemic.
Community health centers provide affordable care to more than 29 million patients, including 385,000 veterans and 8.7 million children nationwide. There are 21 community health centers in Mississippi with 187 locations serving more than 280,000 patients.
Rural health clinics provide primary and preventive care services in underserved rural areas. There are 186 Medicare-certified rural health clinics in Mississippi.