02/09/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/09/2018 19:17
(Bozeman, Mont.)-U.S. Senator Jon Tester today broadcast live via Facebook from Community Health Partners in Bozeman to talk about the recent budget agreement that provides two years' worth of funding for community health centers. Tester interviewed Executive Director Lander Cooney about how important federal funding is for these clinics across Montana, which provide primary health care for more than 100,000 patients.
'This morning at about 1:30 am we passed a bill that will fund community health centers in Montana,' said Tester as he kicked off his broadcast. 'I have been harping on the Senate floor now for several months that these folks needed some predictability, and last night we finally got some predictability.'
Tester also spoke to Family Nurse Practitioner Kristi King, Clinic Director Katie Madison, and Board Member Danya Jackson.
Montana is home to over 40 Community Health Centers that serve more than 100,000 patients each year. But federal funding for Community Health Centers expired more than 130 days ago and since then, Congress has passed four short-term budgets that failed to renew long term funding for these critical health care facilities. If funding for Community Health Centers wasn't included in this week's budget bill, Tester warned, clinics across the country would see a 70 percent drop in federal grant funding and could start running out of money as early as this month.
Tester started sounding alarms about this funding cliff last May and has led the charge to reauthorize funding for Community Health Centers ever since.
He took to the Senate floor last week demanding Congress take action, and led a press conference this week touting his bipartisan Community Health Investment, Modernization, and Excellence Act of 2017, which would continue the Community Health Center Fund for five years. He recently voted against passing a fourth continuing resolution because it didn't reauthorize Community Health Center funding.
Tester was the only member of Montana's delegation to vote for the budget that provides funding for community health centers.