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Senator Hassan Helps Advance Bipartisan Package to Extend Funding for Community Health Centers and Boost Primary Care

Includes Hassan-Backed Provisions to Strengthen Mental Health Care, Train More Nurses, and Stop Unfair Health Care Facility Fees

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan voted to advance a bipartisan bill, which she helped develop, to extend funding for community health centers and boost primary care services. The package also includes provisions that she supported to strengthen mental health services, train more nurses, and stop unfair facility fees that hospitals charge.

“Community health centers serve as the backbone to many communities across New Hampshire, providing primary care, treatment for people struggling with opioid misuse, and other services at affordable costs,” said Senator Hassan. “I am glad that we came together in a bipartisan way to advance this landmark package that includes key New Hampshire priorities I have pushed for: ensuring that patients can receive mental health and addiction treatment services at their local community health center, eliminating unfair fees for health care, and addressing the nursing shortage.”

“On behalf of New Hampshire Community Health Centers, we would like to extend our sincere gratitude to Senator Hassan who worked skillfully with her colleagues on both side of the aisle on the Bipartisan Primary Care and Health Workforce Act.” said Tess Kuenning, President and CEO of the Bi-State Primary Care Association. “This Act is the first step toward securing annually $5.8B in mandatory Health Center funding, investment in capital projects, expanding school-based health, expanding behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment, and adding key funding for workforce through tripling the NHSC and advancing the Teaching Health Center funds. Senator Hassan is a true champion of Community Health Centers, and her work will not only help New Hampshire, but Health Centers across the nation.”

The bipartisan package which Senator Hassan voted to advance out of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee provides in total more than $20 billion in funding to expand primary care and address the health care workforce shortage. Within that funding, $5.8 billion a year over the next three years will fund community health centers and increase health center base funding for the first time since 2015.

Key Additional Measures

Mental Health and Substance Misuse

The following provisions will expand mental health access and allow more patients struggling with substance misuse to access life-saving medication-assisted treatment, which Senator Hassan successfully pushed to expand access to when she passed into law the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act. The bipartisan package includes:

  • Senator Hassan and colleagues’ bipartisan amendment to ensure that all community health centers can provide mental health care and addiction services
  • $3 billion for the construction and renovation of community health centers, with a priority on projects that create space for dental, mental, and substance use disorder services

Stopping Unfair Fees

Senator Hassan is leading a bipartisan effort to stop unfair facility fees that hospitals charge for services that are provided at a lower cost in a doctor’s office. The bipartisan package advanced today includes:

  • A ban on facility fees for telehealth and basic office visits
  • Senator Hassan’s provision to increase transparency and accountability in hospital billing

Health Care Workforce Training

Senator Hassan has also prioritized efforts to address workforce shortages in the health care field. The bipartisan package addresses this challenge in a number of ways including:

  • Senator Hassan and colleagues’ bipartisan amendment to help improve the nursing shortage by directing HHS to investigate the best strategies to address shortages at every level of licensure, as well as shortages of nurse faculty
  • $1.5 billion over the next five years for the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program to increase the number of primary care physicians and dental residents trained in community-based settings
  • Investments in the Rural Residency Planning and Development program and investments in training and workforce programs for dentists and dental assistants