CaliforniaHealth+ Advocates President and CEO Carmela Castellano-Garcia released the following statement today in response to Governor Jerry Brown’s 2017 Budget Proposal:
“Community health centers recognize that it’s going to be a challenging year for healthcare in America but were alarmed to see the elimination of the State’s investment in healthcare workforce funding and delays in behavior health initiatives, which will hamper access to healthcare,” said Castellano-Garcia. “We are committed to working with the Legislature and the Governor to forge solutions that protect our state’s most vulnerable communities.”
In his 2017-18 budget proposal, Governor Brown eliminates $33.4 million in healthcare workforce funding that would begin addressing the primary care workforce crisis that is gripping California’s underserved communities. This is the first year of a three year $100 million investment. The budget investment came at the urging of a broad coalition of statewide healthcare organizations including The California Academy of Family Physicians (CAFP), CaliforniaHealth+ Advocates, and the California Medical Association (CMA), who recognized that access to care challenges must be systemically and comprehensively addressed.
Additionally, the Governor’s office has notified stakeholders that it would delay implementing Assembly Bill 1863 (2016 Chapter 610) by Assemblymember Jim Wood until 2018. AB 1863 will increase access to behavioral health care by permitting Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) services at Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) and Rural Health Centers (RHC) to be reimbursed on par with other behavioral health providers, such as Psychologists and Licensed Clinical Social Workers.
About the CaliforniaHealth+ Advocates
CaliforniaHealth+ Advocates is committed to advancing the mission of California’s community health centers, who provide care to one in seven Californians each year. Community health centers provide comprehensive, high quality health care to everyone who walks through their doors, in a compassionate and culturally sensitive manner.
Community health centers include federally qualified health centers (FQHC) and FQHC look-a-likes, community clinics, free clinics, rural health clinics, migrant health centers, Indian health service clinics, and family planning clinics.
Services include comprehensive primary and preventive care, women’s health, dental, mental health, substance use treatment, health education, outreach and enrollment, pharmacy and more.