House Passes Community Health Center Reauthorization Bill
The House yesterday passed a bill (HR 3450) by voice vote that would allow community health centers to save money by forming networks for purchasing and technical services, AP/Long Island Newsday reports. The bill also would permit health centers to participate in the National Health Service Corps, which reimburses doctors' medical school loans in exchange for providing medical care in underserved areas (AP/Long Island Newsday, 10/1). In addition, the bill reauthorizes the Community Access Program, which offers grants to communities to "better organize and deliver care to the poor and uninsured" (National Association of Community Health Centers release, 10/1). The House still has to approve funding to support this legislation, and differences between the House and Senate versions must be reconciled. The Senate passed a companion bill in April (AP/Long Island Newsday, 10/1). HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson said, "This action demonstrates that the House leadership is again responding to the health care needs of vulnerable and uninsured populations," and he called for lawmakers to "expedit[e] discussions" on the bill so that it could be enacted before the end of this legislative session (HHS release, 10/1).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.