Torres Small highlights need to extend funding for community health centers

WASHINGTON, DC – this week, Congresswoman Xochitl torres Small called on house Leadership to prioritize consistent federal funding for several health programs important to New Mexicans across the Second Congressional District. in a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy, torres Small goes into detail about the urgent need to reauthorize and provide long-term funding for the health Center Program, the National health Service Corps Program (NhSC) and the teaching health Center Graduate Medical Education (thCGME) Program.

“Everywhere i go, i consistently hear about the challenges of getting quality health care close to home. By providing consistent Congressional funding and stability for programs with a proven track record of serving New Mexicans in some of the most remote and rural areas, we can build upon these programs’ current successes. No one should have to drive hours to receive the medical attention they need. i want to make sure that Congressional leadership doesn’t overlook rural America and the needs of my constituents,” said torres Small.

in the letter, torres Small highlights the following aspects of each initiative, all important to expanding health care access in central and southern New Mexico:

the health Center Program supports Community health Centers (ChCs), which provide primary and preventative care predominantly in underserved areas nationwide. in 2018, ChCs served over 330,000 patients in New Mexico, of which 24 percent were uninsured and 93 percent were at or below 200 percent of the poverty line.

Many of the medical professionals that work in ChCs are participants of the NhSC, which awards scholarships and loan repayments to primary care providers serving in high-need areas. in fiscal year 2019, 138 NhSC participants, such as physicians, nurse practitioners and dentists, served New Mexicans throughout the state. For states like New Mexico that struggle to recruit and retain medical professionals due to its rural and vast nature, the NhSC is a crucial tool to maintain and develop a robust health care workforce.

the thCGME program trains future medical providers in community-based primary care settings like ChCs. this program has a proven success of retaining residents to the areas where they conducted their residency, which is particularly important for rural areas like New Mexico’s Second Congressional District.

Furthermore, 69 percent of thCGME graduates remain in primary care practice and 55 percent practice in underserved communities. in New Mexico, rural communities have benefitted from this program and continue to express interest in expanding their participation.

Congresswoman torres Small has supported several pieces of legislation to expand health care access in New Mexico including the training the Next Generation of Primary Care Doctors Act, the Rural MOMS Act, and Maternal health Quality improvement Act.

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