On March 6, 2020, Congress approved a bipartisan $8.3 billion package (the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020). The bill included $100 million in funding under the Health Centers Program administered by Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for FQHCs to address the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. FQHCs are impactful in assisting federal, state and local health departments in screening and monitoring in an effort to reduce the strain on our hospital system.
Often overlooked by outsiders is the importance of a fully functioning FQHC to its community, which serves a vast majority of the uninsured and underinsured. With this funding, the hope is to cover the FQHCs’ cost in responding to the virus, as it relates to testing and treating infected patients, purchasing supplies, adding staff where needed, and escalating the capacity for telehealth services.
Dependent on certain factors including the number of patients and volume of uninsured and underinsured patients, centers will receive anywhere from $32,000 to $50,000 to spend where they see fit. HRSA is also working with Congress for eventual full funding of FQHCs to ensure they remain in operation during this crisis. As the patients in these centers are amongst the most vulnerable, continual funding is crucial in the improvement and ultimate treatment of coronavirus.