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The Race to Build More Federally Funded Health Centers in New Jersey

Capacity is already a concern, healthcare reform is only expected to exacerbate it.

New Jersey's federally qualified health centers are very busy places -- understandably so, given that most of their patients are either uninsured or on Medicaid. But for Kathy Grant Davis, president of the New Jersey Primary Care Association, current capacity is only one of her concerns. She is looking to 2014, when federal healthcare reform will drive up the number of patients who rely on FQHCs.

In order to serve that growing population, Davis plans on opening another 30 FQHC locations. But Davis said keeping the expansion on track will hinge in large measure on New Jersey winning more federal money.

Currenlty New Jersey's 20 federaly qualified health centers operate 105 sites that deliver medical care to more than 400,000 patients statewide. That number is expected to surge above 500,000 when the Affordable Care Act expands Medicaid eligibility and brings subsidized health coverage to many of the state's low- and moderate-income residents.

New Jersey's FQHC expansion was launched in 2011 and approved by the federal government, Davis said. But federal money to fund new centers is disbursed through a competitive process among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Last year 900 proposed centers applied for funding; 70 were approved. New Jersey landed funding for one new center in Hackettstown, Davis said.

"We have to compete with Mississippi and Alaska and Louisiana for funding," Davis said. "Competition for those dollars is extremely tough." The federal government provides $650,000 a year for operating expense. Centers also are reimbursed by Medicaid New Jersey FamilyCare, the state's expansion of Medicaid. The centers also do fundraising to cover their operating budgets.

Davis said she is continuing to pursue the expansion plan, "and we hope that when the federal government announces a new round of grants, that we'll be more successful."

Freehold and Somerset are among the places new centers are being proposed, Davis said. Currently there are no FQHC sites in Somerset County, but because the county as a whole is fairly affluent, the center may not get federal funding. "But we know there are pockets where there is a need," she said. "So we are still moving ahead with our plan," to launch an FQHC in Somerset.

Continue reading this story in NJ Spotlight.

NJ Spotlight is an online news service providing insight and information on issues critical to New Jersey.

morrigan January 17, 2012 at 03:50 PM
I would suggest that opening more health care facilities in NJ is actually a good thing. (The subtitle is kind of alarmist.) More accessible health care can only help the people of New Jersey!
Winston January 17, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Yes lets waste more tax money on paying for the healthcare of illegal aliens while Americans pay more and get less...brilliant idea!
Joe R January 17, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Where's your data or proof, Winston, that illegal aliens are even a significant factor in sucking up health care dollars? Oh right, you're just pulling things out of your posterior as per usual. So do you suggest that we just allow illegal aliens to die in the streets? What about their children? Just allow them to suffer, get sicker and die?
morrigan January 17, 2012 at 10:12 PM
People are people. This "us and them" thing is way too old. These facilities serve people who do not otherwise have access to health care -- and you may not believe this, but plenty of those people are the "Americans" you are talking about!
Winston January 18, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Morrigan...i agree as a US citizen who pays taxes I demand that my dog and cat get free healthcare too! Facts, facts and more facts...left wing loons hate them! A recent study reveals that health care and incarceration of illegal aliens, and concludes that the costs to Californians is $10.5 billion per year. Texas estimates illegal immigrants cost hospitals $1.9 billion. Colorado, the state's emergency Medicaid program paid an estimated $30 million in hospital and physician delivery costs for about 6,000 illegal immigrant mothers - average of $5,000 per baby. Those 6,000 births to illegal aliens represent 40% of the births paid for by Medicaid in Colorado. Those 6,000 babies immediately became U.S. citizens and qualified for full Medicaid services, with a cost yet to be tabulated. New Jersey care. Taxpayer-funded, unreimbursed medical outlays for health care provided to the state’s illegal alien population amount to an estimated $200 million a year. Let the personal attacks begin...
morrigan January 18, 2012 at 02:42 AM
(Sorry, I'm not into personal attacks.) So make them legal and let them pay taxes too. There's a mindset out there that turns people into something other than humans. The way slaveowners considered their slaves non-people so they could justify "owning" them. The way some Americans turned other Americans of Japanese ancestry into "Japs" so they could justify taking their businesses, their homes, and their possessions. We are all in this together. As Ben Franklin said at the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence -- "We must all hang together or assured ly we shall all hang separately."
Winston January 18, 2012 at 01:17 PM
How dare you compare illegal aliens to slavery. Law breakers willfully sneaking across borders and stealing from US taxpayers cannot be compared to human beings forced into slavery and treated like livestock. Morrigan your post is an example of the perversion of the left wing zealots who do not understand history and lack a basic sense of morality due to their blind political beliefs. You should be ashamed of yourself!
morrigan January 19, 2012 at 06:01 AM
Winston, you read my post incorrectly. I was talking about a mindset. That particular mindset allows some people to treat other people as non-human. And I gave two examples from American history where people justified doing great harm to other people because of that mindset. No side is always right or always wrong, but the greatest lack of morality is on the right -- disenfranchise the unfortunate, invoke racism, desecrate the environment, lie, cheat, steal -- anything for a profit. This isn't the first time -- Theodore Roosevelt ran on a platform that said to "dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day."
Winston January 19, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Morrigan dont you mean... The greatest lack of morality is on the left --who make the unfortunate think they have no option but despair if they don't become long term addicts to food stamps and welfare, invoke racism in every debate rather than see beyond color and address the real issues, believe in junk science and morons like Al Gore in the name of the environment, blindly following union bosses who put themselves over members and in the case of NJEA over the children, endorse and promote left wing do nothing politicians like Holt, Menendez, Lautenberg and Obama that lie, cheat, steal -- anything to protect their political power.
morrigan January 19, 2012 at 03:30 PM
NO, that is not what I mean. I think I did mention that neither side is always right -- or always wrong. For example, Christie's idea about treating nonviolent drug offenses as a public health issue instead of a criminal issue -- implemented well, that could be a very good idea. That would dovetail well with the building of the additional public health facilities mentioned in the article. I guess I did forget to mention that the Right tends to have absolutely no problems with making up its own "facts." Some of which you mentioned above. We are entitled to our own opinions. We are not entitled to our own facts.

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