U.S. Sen. Patty Murray hears appeal from local community health center leader

Friday, January 30, 2015

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash), (center), met with International Community Health Services CEO Teresita Batayola (left) and Yakima Neighborhood Health Services CEO Anita Monoian on Jan. 21 to discuss protecting federal funding for the nation's community health centers.

U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) met with International Community Health Services (ICHS) CEO Teresita Batayola and Anita Monoian, CEO of Yakima Neighborhood Health Services, last week in Washington, D.C. (Jan. 21) to discuss continued funding for the nation's community health centers.

The focus of the meeting was the impending "Health Center Funding Cliff," a term that refers to the end of the mandatory funding of Community Health Centers (CHCs), as provided by the Affordable Care Act, at the end of fiscal year 2015.

If and when this occurs, CHCs nationwide will see their federal funding cut by 70 percent. CHC leaders nationwide have been meeting with key Congressional leaders to urge protection of funding for community health centers.

 "We are seeking Sen. Murray's help in defending these vital funds that allow our state's community health centers to remain open and provide health care to thousands of needy and underserved Washingtonians," said Batayola, who previously served as president of Washington Association of Community and Migrant Health Centers. "We want Congress to prioritize solving this issue and fix this 'health center funding cliff' that has placed the state's 26 community health centers in peril."

Congress faces a Sept. 30 deadline for fix the Health Center Funding Cliff.

During their meeting with Sen. Murray, Batayola and Monoian argued for protecting funding for CHCs, stressing that community health centers are a sound investment. They have a long history of bipartisan support and have been shown to result in health care cost savings and improve access to primary care.

The Shoreline ICHS medical and dental clinic opened on Aurora in 2014. ICHS provides culturally and linguistically appropriate health services to improve the health of Asian Pacific Islanders and the broader community. No one is turned away and interpreters are available for 50 languages.

Sen. Murray began her political career as a Shoreline resident. She was a member of the Shoreline School Board, then elected as a representative to the state legislature, and after one term was elected as Washington's first female Senator to the U.S. Congress.


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