Washington DC – The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on June 4th of this year during which they examined the importance of investing in a number of health care service programs. The hearing featured testimony from the CEO of Shasta Community Health Center Dean Germano, who urged Congress to reauthorize and expand the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Program, the Community Health Centers (CHC) Program, and the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program (THCGME). Pointing to the increasing clinical and financial challenges facing the health center and others across the country, he emphasized the interdependence and importance of these three programs. By providing funding for the recruitment of clinicians to underserved areas, the NHSC has enabled Shasta Community Health Center and many other health centers across the U.S. to provide vital and comprehensive services, including primary medical, dental, and mental/behavioral health services, to their patients.
Germano also addressed the need to increase NHSC funding. During the hearing he explained that given the influx of new patients and the crippling student debt of clinicians entering the primary care field, his health center has struggled to match the growing demand. He highlighted the fact that the clinical workforce shortage “is particularly acute…among the ranks of primary care physicians.” In the absence of financial support, these physicians are often unable to serve in a non-profit setting despite their willingness to do so.
Germano urged Representatives to support H.R. 1943 and H.R. 2328, both of which would not only reauthorize but expand funding for the NHSC. He stressed the importance of Congress passing this legislation before funding expires on September 30 of this year. The most recent extension missed the funding deadline and resulted in damaging delays for the NHSC.
If you would like to watch the full hearing or read Germano’s testimony, please click here.