Health centers unite and wear red to support funding reinstateme - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Health centers unite and wear red to support funding reinstatement

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YAKIMA, WA - Nationwide, community health centers are waiting on Congress to reinstate their funding. Together, the centers have united in a demonstration by wearing red.

Three major community health centers in Yakima wore red to support Red Alert For Health Centers. Yakima Neighborhood Health, Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic and Community Health of Central Washington are three of the 1,400 community health centers nationwide that united today because Congress has not reinstated their funding, which has them facing a 70 percent cut.

For the last two years, Congress offered the centers bipartisan support for that fund, but that came to an end in October of last year. Since then, Congress has not acted, and now that fund is set to expire.

Community health centers in Yakima explain they have enough funding to continue fully functioning until the end of this month, and they tell us what they might have to do if this funding does not come through.

"Without this funding, that is about three million dollars for us, about three thousand patients would lose access to care and we would have some layoffs," said Leah Ward, communications manager with YNHS.

The three local centers are being supported by Representative Dan Newhouse, who is in Washington, D.C. advocating for an extension of that fund. Along with him is also the CEO of Yakima Neighborhood Health.

Tonight, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on a bill that would extend the funding for another two years. If approved, it goes to the Senate, but there isn't much time because a government shutdown could happen on Thursday.