Community health centers in New York are calling for a $1 billion plan to aid primary care mental health services over the next five years as the state seeks $13.5 billion in Medicaid funding from the federal government.
Sun River Health, a network of health centers in the Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island, would aid 800 facilities and lower costs for patients and providers over the next five years.
The push comes as New York has requested the $13.5 billion to focus on health disparities and issues like housing and hunger. Sun River Health's officials, however, also want to play a role through their community health centers.
“Health Centers, like Sun River, have long put our patients in the center and recognize the factors that impact their health outcomes," said Anne Kauffman Nolon, the network's chief executive officer. "The voice of health centers and the voice of our patients and our decades of experience cannot be discounted."
New York health officials, earlier this spring, proposed $13.5 billion over five years from the federal government to address health disparities caused by social issues related to health. The provisions of the proposal, known as a waiver, call for new entities meant to draw together community-based groups, social service providers and health care providers.
The state hopes the funding, in part, will be used to tie together both social and health care services.
“The community health center model is based on integrating medical, behavioral health, mental health and social services," said Jim Sinkoff, the group's deputy chief executive officer. "Over the past half century, we have built trust with our patients and a track record of service in the communities with the highest needs. Rather than supplanting or duplicating our work, the waiver should directly invest in the existing community health system that serves millions of New Yorkers with dignity and respect.”