May 3, 2024
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Delegate Rob Bloxom Eastern Shore Rural Health

Eastern Shore Rural Health was recently awarded a $159,000 federal appropriations grant in support of dental services for children. The grant award, recommended by U.S. Senator Tim Kaine and U.S. Senator Mark Warner, will be administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration. This request originated from a 2023 visit as part of a National Association of Community Health Center Policies & Issues conference in D.C. Details of the project to be supported by this funding will be announced shortly.

Two Community Health Center efforts were successful in the 2024 Virginia General Assembly. State appropriations in support of Community Health Centers was raised by $1.5 million annually, to roughly $4.9 million per year. This addresses the pressing needs of health centers, such as rising costs associated with care delivery, unmet patient needs and workforce challenges. The dollar amount of state appropriations had not increased since 2015 despite a 49% increase in health care costs over six years. Virginia community health centers’ cost of care is lower than the national average by 18%. Severe workforce shortages, which existed before the pandemic, and growing salary gaps make it difficult for health centers to retain and recruit staff.

A change in scope directing the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services to provide Community Health Centers fair reimbursement for Medicaid patients, with federal matching funds, was also approved in the 2024 Virginia General Assembly session.

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