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California Community Clinics Struggle to Survive During Coronavirus Pandemic

Statewide, federally qualified health centers are hemorrhaging nearly $90 million per week because patient visits — and reimbursements from Medi-Cal insurance — have dropped by half as people hunker down at home, according to Carmela Castellano-Garcia, president and chief executive of the California Primary Care Association, a lobbying group that represents 1,300 community clinics and health centers.

“This is unsustainable,” Castellano-Garcia said. “We are the leading providers of care for California’s most vulnerable populations and community health centers’ future is very much threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Read more here: KQED

Telemedicine Gets a Boost During the Pandemic — Here’s How to Get the Most Out of It

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have expanded access to telemedicine appointments for their beneficiaries. Thanks to a new waiver, more elderly and low-income people can now receive care from practitioners virtually — and doctors and patients across California are taking advantage of this new leeway.

Read more here: KQED

Public Charge: Community Health Center Resources and Mobilization

Community Health Centers (CHCs) serve more than 28 million people annually. By mission and mandate, CHCs are typically located in high-need, low-resourced areas, and serve all members of the community, regardless of ability to pay. The recent public charge rule is expected to have a major impact on community health centers and the individuals and communities they serve, both directly and because of the “chilling effect” that is expected to hamper utilization of services, even by those not directly affected.  Only a few weeks into the implementation of the final rule, we spoke with the California Primary Care Association (CPCA) and The Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) to learn more about what they are seeing on the ground, and how health centers can best inform staff and assist patients going forward.

Read more here: CHroniCles

Coronavirus: Bay Area community health centers struggle as patient visits plummet

Statewide, patient visits are down by roughly half across California’s network of community clinics and health centers, leading to tens of millions in lost revenue each week. For many local health clinics that primarily serve low-income residents and rely on Medicaid reimbursements to make up a large portion of their income, the dramatic reductions in patient visits threaten their ability to stay open and care for the kinds of patients who are at a heightened risk of contracting the virus.

Read more here: San Jose Mercury News

Community health centers struggle to survive coronavirus pandemic

Community Health Centers are serving on the front lines of the nation’s battle against coronavirus. CHCs are nonprofit health care clinics that provide health care to 29 million patients nationwide, 25% of which are uninsured and 70% of which live in poverty. America’s 1,400 CHCs operate 15,000 clinics in medically underserved communities and subsist almost entirely on government funding.
Read more here: Valley News