Contact Congress to keep programs funded

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

While Congress has been focused on passing a tax bill, other important governmental funding measures have been put on the back burner. Stopgap measures were taken to continue funding the government, but these measures did not cover many of the programs that people have come to rely on. Some of these programs involve the health of our communities.

The funding for community health centers, such as the Community Health Center of Franklin County, and the funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program are two of the programs that must be approved separately from the rest of the budget. These programs should have been voted on at the end of September. This is important because the uncertainty around future funding is affecting the ability of community health centers to provide medical and dental care to over 7,000 people here in Franklin County, and to help problem-solve complex public health issues, like our area’s devastating opioid crisis.

Our health center also helps keep people out of the emergency room, provides transportation to and from medical appointments and assists people in obtaining health care. Recently, the health center established a dental clinic at Baystate Franklin Medical Center for dental emergencies.

In addition, the health center employs 75 people and puts millions of dollars into the local economy. Putting health centers at financial risk will have tremendous ripple effects for patients, communities and taxpayers. Our community health center serves all of Franklin County and North Quabbin area and has offices in Greenfield, Turners Falls and Orange, and has plans to open a new facility early in 2018 in downtown Greenfield that will bring together our medical and dental services under one roof. Without federal funding, we will not be able to fulfill our plans.

Please contact your Congressional representatives and tell them to continue funding this important program!

Judy Atkins