With the 2020 election season now underway, federally qualified health centers, such as Jordan Valley Community Health Center, are relying on short-term decisions for funding from Washington, D.C., says Brooks Miller, president and CEO of the Springfield-based clinic.
Speaking this morning as Springfield Business Journal’s 12 People You Need to Know live interview guest, Miller said federal funding typically makes up 9%-11% of Jordan Valley’s budget. With a 2019 operating budget of $53 million and federal funding at roughly $5 million, Jordan Valley annually sees some over 66,000 patients, mainly in the low-income population. Its services include oral and behavioral health care, as well as substance use disorder treatment.
Miller said Jordan Valley’s federal funding is secured for another month through a Congress-approved short-term initiative known as a continuing resolution. The Springfield organization this year had expected a three-year funding approval, Miller said.
“There’s a lot of things going on in Washington, D.C., right now, and the budget’s not one of them,” he said. “This is my speculation: I think we’ll go through CRs all the way through the election of 2020.”
Miller said the U.S. election cycle can contribute to societal issues, such as those exhibited by patients at Jordan Valley. For example, generational poverty cannot be solved in the short term, he said.
“We do not invest in the future because elections are every two to four years. That’s what we invest toward,” Miller said. “We have to understand this is a cyclical problem, that if we don’t go to the heart of it, we’re never going to resolve it and it’s going to continue to escalate.
“We have to figure out ways that we can invest in those individuals that will eventually be the workforce of Springfield.”
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