PUBLIC FUNDING, it’s in.dis.pens.able.
Definitions of indispensable:
absolutely necessary: ESSENTIAL
Why are Public Funds Indispensable?
Because… public funding is crucial to protecting our country as a whole, public health is designed to protect safety and improve the health of communities. Our federal budget and funding objectives include the reallocation of resources, reduction of inequalities in income and wealth, creation of economic stability, growth, and the reduction of regional disparities. Public funding comes from federal, state, and local sources, including designated tax levies and fees and fines.
As a social worker, I have committed my career and personal mission to help relieve people’s suffering and improve lives. I am now uniquely positioned to make a difference for a larger population. Public funding is the foundation of my efforts. Effective stewardship of these funds leads to respect, credibility, and strong relationships with our governmental representatives, community organizations, and private supporters.
I worry about the underfunding of public health initiatives and the long-term financial fallout. It is estimated less than three percent of federal spending is directed toward public health and prevention. The CDC’s program level budget remains just above its level in FY 2008 when adjusting for inflation. And there remains a mismatch between need and funding levels*.
The impact of COVID-19 in the last two years serves as a red flag that public health challenges are on the rise. The mutations of seasonal flu, viruses, and vaccine-preventable diseases, plus obesity, risks associated with vaping, sexually transmitted infections, substances misuse, and suicide epidemics, to name a few, will challenge our resources and the ability to respond.
All nonprofits continually work to find ways to raise revenues. Without funds, we cannot move towards achieving our purpose. There must be some fixed revenue streams of substantial quantity to ensure that nonprofit operations can continue in many low-income communities.
Community health centers are funded primarily by the Health Center Program, found in Section 330 of the Public Health Services Act. Unfortunately, this program holds health centers in a vulnerable position since the funds are comprised of a combination of discretionary funding appropriated by Congress each year.
Recently, LIFQHC was fortunate to be awarded Community Project Funding which will be used to build a state-of-the-art health center in Hempstead and finalize renovations to our Elmont health center.
With this funding, we can expand our range of services and build accommodating facilities to confront the ever-growing need for individual, family, and community health care for years to come.
I believe that we effectively align the goals for the requested funds with the community’s identified needs. As a result, I am confident that we were awarded financial resources to further our mission, our future, and best provide for those who need our services.
We recognize that credit for our accomplishments is jointly shared with the representatives who awarded us the public funds. We can’t let this opportunity pass without acknowledging those in Congress who supported our request.
Thank you, Congressman Meeks, for his support of our Elmont Health Center and Congresswoman Rice for her support of our funding request for our Hempstead Health Center. Additionally, we thank Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Senator Gillibrand for their support. We feel fortunate that our Senators and representatives value the significance, impact, and magnitude of community health centers. We are here to serve a population that desperately needs to be included in the federal health care curriculum.
David Nemiroff, LCSW
President & CEO
Long Island FQHC, Inc.
*Trust For America’s Health (TFAH) 2020 report