October 20, 2021

Health centers in good shape

Federal funding issues have little effect on area sites, officials say

Nurse Allyson Freelove administering a shot

Todd R. McAdam/managing editor

Nurse Allyson Freelove administers a shot Thursday at the Jacobus Center for Reproductive Health at the Cortland County Office Building. Even though a federal program that funds community health centers is in danger of losing its funding, the Jacobus center will remain in operation, county officials said.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is urging Congress to approve funding for community health centers, however, those in the Cortland County area will see little to no loss if the funding disappears, health officials said.

“Any impact from changes in this federal funding would not significantly impact day-to-day operations given FHN’s (Family Health Network’s) history of excellent resource management and stewardship of finances,” said Kim Osborne, the CEO of Family Health Network in a statement sent Wednesday.

However, she did not say how much federal funding the organization receives for the six offices or four school centers it operates in the greater Cortland area.

Community health centers provide low-cost healthcare to people, regardless of income or insurance coverage. If Congress doesn’t approve approve funding for the centers by Dec. 20, they could lose more than 70% of their federal funding, forcing cuts, Gillibrand said in a release.

Family Health Network operates these offices:

  • Cortland Health Center on West Road in Cortlandville.
  • Pediatric & Family Practice Health Center on Groton Avenue in Cortland.
  • Family Health Network Dental Ofce on Central Street in Moravia.
  • Moravia Health Center on Central Street in Moravia.
  • Cincinnatus Health Center on Cincinnatus Road in Cincinnatus.
  • Marathon Health Center on East Main Street in Marathon.

It also has centers in DeRuyter Central School, Cincinnatus Central School, Marathon Elementary and Junior/Senior High School.

“We provide about 51,000 visits across Cortland and in the school-based centers,” Osborne said.

She said they have a variety of other revenue sources including insurance and a sliding fee scale.

“You can’t just rely in federal funding to keep the doors open,” she said.

In the state 2.4 million people rely on the centers for healthcare, said Rose Duhan, president and CEO of the Community Health Care Association of New York State.

New York has 65 federally funded community health center organizations that provide care at 761 sites, according to the release from Gillibrand. Of the people getting care, 68% are lowincome, 53% are covered by Medicaid and 16% are uninsured.

The centers also serve more than 650,00 children, 104,000 homeless people and 18,000 veterans. In the United States, 29 million people depend on the centers.

One center that won’t be affected is the Jacobus Center for Reproductive Health located in the Cortland County Office Building, said county Health Director Catherine Feuerherm.

Feuerherm said when changes were made to Title X, a federal program that provides affordable birth control and reproductive healthcare for women, the state of New York pulled out of participation.

One of the big changes made to Title X was that it banned funding for clinics that referred women to abortion providers.

Instead of federal funding, the state funds the center, which also gets income from insurance and other programs.