Rural health officer: Lawmakers must fund community health centers

While Congress provided funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program in its stopgap funding bill earlier this month, lawmakers have not yet reauthorized funding for community health centers, which is equally important, according to an op-ed in the Montana Standard.

Karen Sullivan, health officer and director of the health department for Butte-Silver Bow in Montana, argues community health centers provide important resources for underserved populations.

"In 2016, Montana's community health centers saw 107,455 patients for behavioral health, 74,400 for preventive services and 72,933 for chronic conditions," Ms. Sullivan wrote.

Not only do community health centers serve the patient population, they also act as important educational resources for medical students.

"Southwest Montana Community Health Center is a teaching site, and a variety of students — those studying to be physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, nurses, medical assistants — receive training at the clinic. The health center also deploys a Healthcare for the Homeless program, providing services to the homeless off-site and on-site," Ms. Sullivan wrote.

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