September 27, 2017


Washington, D.C. – As a member of the Senate Appropriation Committee, U.S. Senator Manchin (D-WV) is fighting to ensure that community health centers in West Virginia receive the funding they need to continue providing quality healthcare to West Virginians. The program funding is set to expire on September 30, 2017 unless reauthorized by Congress.

West Virginia has 30 community health centers that serve 438,035 West Virginians. If the program is not reauthorized, these West Virginia health centers would lose more than $78 million, a 70 percent cut to their budget. If that happened, 33 percent of patients could lose access to care, nearly 900 employees would lose their jobs and West Virginia’s economy would lose more than $112 million in revenue.

“Ensuring every West Virginian has access to quality healthcare has always been one of my top priorities,” Senator Manchin said. “As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I am in a unique position to advocate for West Virginia community health centers to improve and expand their services. Although the program is set to expire on September 30, I will do everything in my power to see that this program gets reauthorized and receives funding to provide important services to the millions of Americans that live in rural and underserved areas. There are many areas of our state that solely rely on community health centers for all of their healthcare needs and I will fight to make sure that this important program in reauthorized and fully funded.”

This funding cut will also affect coal miners with black lung disease, because many of them rely on these community health centers for their life saving treatment. Debbie Wills with the West Virginia Black Lung Clinics Program said, "Many coal miners live in rural communities with current access to a community health center. Miners with black lung are able to get medical treatment in their communities where doctors are familiar with their disease and their health care needs. If these centers close or reduce services, miners will have to travel greater distances to receive medical attention. With a disease that makes it hard to breath, every minute makes a difference. In some cases it could be life or death."

Last week, Senator Manchin joined his colleagues in sending a bipartisan letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions urging a swift action to reauthorize the program.