Letters to the Editor

Community health centers face closure

Community health centers, such as Keystone Rural Health Consortia Inc., have been committed to providing quality medical, dental and behavioral care to vulnerable individuals in poor neighborhoods and rural communities with few options for doctors for more than 50 years.

However, health centers such as ours are facing a drastic funding cuts due to inaction from congress in September and if action is not taken before 2018, patients will find closed offices, reduced staff and fewer services available.

For perspective in our community health centers including one located in central Pennsylvania, we have seen significant demand in recent years to now provide care to over 4,000 patients with our 45 employees. We are proud to stabilize medical conditions, provide support to individuals in crisis and offer care for generations of our neighborhood families. As part of a nationwide network of primary care providers, we have proven to be effective clinicians that save taxpayers billions of dollars every year based on our preventive care.

No one can refute the positive contributions made by community health centers, that’s why both parties have supported us for decades. Past bipartisan support may not be enough to help centers such as ours and the hospitals that have come to rely on partnerships to improve preventive care for vulnerable patients. We urge congress to take action to continue funding health centers before we experience a reduction of up to 70 percent in 2018.

Kristie Bennardi, Emporium

The writer is the CEO of Keystone Rural Health Consortia Inc.