Senator brought together community health center leaders and staff to further partnership advancing affordable health care solutions for Arizonans
WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema convened a virtual roundtable with community health center leaders and staff from across Arizona to discuss solutions to the continued needs centers face with COVID-19 testing, treating, vaccinating, and beyond.
“Throughout the pandemic, Arizona’s community health centers worked to keep tribal communities safe, ensure our rural areas weren’t left behind, and checked in on vulnerable families and seniors in need of help. Today’s meeting provided another opportunity to hear more about the challenges they are seeing on the ground, how we can continue working together to address those difficulties, and help Arizonans return to normal and thrive,” said Sinema.
Community health centers are essential primary care and safety net providers serving Arizona’s most vulnerable populations – including seniors, families, migrants and asylum seekers, rural communities, tribal members, and other underserved Arizonans. Sinema worked with the Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers to host the virtual roundtable and learn more about health centers’ needs in providing affordable health care to the communities they serve.
During the meeting, Sinema emphasized her efforts in leading members of the Arizona congressional delegation last week in urging the passage of sufficient COVID supplemental funding to meet the immediate needs of Arizona providers. In the letter, Sinema and members of the delegation advocated for additional support for providers testing, treating, and vaccinating Arizona’s most vulnerable populations. The letter acknowledged how Arizona’s safety net providers continue to struggle with insufficient resources and high levels of need – directly informed by the advocacy of community health centers participating in the virtual roundtable.
Participants at the virtual roundtable featured community health center leaders and staff from health centers across Arizona – including North Country Healthcare (Flagstaff), Valleywise Health (Phoenix), Wesley Community and Health Centers (Phoenix), Valle del Sol (Phoenix), Canyonlands Healthcare (Page), MHC Healthcare (Marana), Sunset Community Health Center (Yuma), Mariposa Community Health Center (Nogales), Sun Life Family Health Center (Casa Grande), Creek Valley Health Center (Colorado City), Native Americans for Community Action, Inc. (Flagstaff) and more.
Sinema has partnered with the Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers during her time in Congress and throughout the pandemic in securing aid and resources for Arizona, especially for vulnerable communities.
Sinema recently cosponsored the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act—bipartisan legislation introduced by Democratic Senator Dick Durbin (Ill.) and Republican Senator John Cornyn (Texas) that allows unused visas from prior years to be used by doctors and nurses who can help combat the COVID-19 pandemic and meet the ongoing health care staffing challenges in Arizona and across the country.
In the Fiscal Year 2022 government funding bill, Sinema secured key priorities for Arizona’s community health centers and other providers, including:
- $1.7 billion for community health centers and primary care, including funds to support school-based health centers and advanced cancer screenings for underserved communities.
- Extension of telehealth services to ensure Arizonans can continue to access care beyond the pandemic.
- Policies training more health providers and improving care for underserved populations, including increased telehealth and training programs for rural maternal health.
- $8.5 billion for the CDC and $3.2 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund – including funding for state and local public health programs.
- $2.3 billion for the Administration for Community Living which funds senior nutrition programs, home and community-based care, and family and tribal caregiver programs.
- $6 billion for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nutrition programs; more than $140 billion for SNAP, and nearly $27 billion for child nutrition programs (including for school and summer meals).