WASHINGTON — An Arkansas community health advocate spoke at a rally on Capitol Hill last week, urging congressional support for community health centers.
Brigitte McDonald, a Corning resident and CEO of 1st Choice Healthcare, was joined by other advocates from across the country.
Congress got the message. Lawmakers included funding for community health centers in their two-year budget agreement, which was signed into law Friday by President Donald Trump.
McDonald met with members of the Arkansas congressional delegation earlier in the week and described them as “very supportive.”
Failure of Congress to approve ongoing funding for the centers had left the health care providers and their patients in limbo.
“Since we’ve had the four continuing resolutions, most of the health centers in Arkansas have either implemented a hiring freeze or [are] looking at that, losing staff because of the uncertainty. It’s definitely hard to recruit staff knowing that the funding cliff is there,” she said.
Republican U.S. Reps. Rick Crawford of Jonesboro and French Hill of Little Rock had already signed a Feb. 2 letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., highlighting the importance of providing “sustainable and reliable funding” for the centers.