GREATER CONROE/LAKE CONROE AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: Lone Star Family Health Center (LSFHC) Faces Funding Cuts

Community Health Centers around the country breathed a large sigh of relief as they were notified that their funding for the next two years was secure.


Greater Conroe/Lake Conroe Area Chamber of Commerce issued the following announcement on Feb. 15.

Community Health Centers around the country breathed a large sigh of relief as they were notified that their funding for the next two years was secure.

“I was ecstatic to tell my staff and Board of Directors,” says LSFHC Chief Executive Officer, Karen Harwell, “This means a lot for our community. The 130 days was a tough wait for us, but our congressional representatives came through and we could not be more grateful.”

LSFHC receives $3.5 million in Community Health Center funding to care for low-income and uninsured patients. This funding covers the majority of the cost of care for the 200-plus patients that visit the Conroe clinic each day as well as those visiting the clinics in Spring and Willis. It also allows LSFHC to offer expanded services such as dental and behavioral health. The health center would have continued to operate as a basic family medicine clinic in Conroe without receiving its Community Health Center Funding, but would have been forced to close its satellite clinics and cut the expanded services to many patients.

“Because of how we budget and manage operations, we are not dependent on the federal government,” says Harwell, “but the funding we receive allows us to provide so many more services to more people, across more locations.”

The health center also receives another $1 million as a Teaching Health Center to train Family Medicine Physicians, and with the State of Texas and country as a whole facing a shortage of Family Medicine Physicians, the 10 physicians graduated each year have a large economic and healthcare impact.

Harwell spent three days in Washington DC this week participating in advocacy events and meeting with officials, including Senator Ted Cruz. Senator John Cornyn met with staff from the Texas Association of Community Health Centers. Representative Kevin Brady took to social media wearing red as part of the #RedAlert4CHCs effort to show his continued support of the Community Health Center program.

With funding secured, LSFHC will now move forward with its plans for 2018, which include opening a new clinic in the Grangerland community, launching a Medically Underserved Training Track to train physicians to work in rural communities and medical deserts, providing dental services in Willis through its mobile dental unit, addressing childhood obesity through an effort with the Episcopal Health Foundation, and pursuing plans to expand the facilities is has in Willis. All of this will be in addition to providing care for more than 30,000 patients over 99,000+ patient encounters, delivering about 600 babies, graduating 10 fully-trained Family Medicine physicians, and accepting 10 new Resident Physicians into its Residency Program.

Harwell, along with her staff, offer their thanks to the community for rallying to support the health center and to Representative Kevin Brady, Senator John Cornyn, and Senator Ted Cruz and their staffs for supporting this country’s medical safety net.

Original source can be found here.

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