Senate Panel Passes Ward Bill to Boost Community-Based Healthcare for Patients in Need

HARRISBURG – The Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved a bill this week that would help federally qualified health centers better meet the needs of patients in underserved areas, according to the bill’s sponsor, Senator Judy Ward (R-30).

Senate Bill 273 would make improvements to the Community Based Health Care Program, which was created in 2013 to boost healthcare access and services, while also reducing unnecessary use of hospital emergency services. 

Under the program, the amount of grant funding available to federally qualified health centers and look-alike facilities was capped at 25 percent of the total distributed by the program. However, the funding cap has limited the ability of many federally qualified health centers to serve patients.

Ward’s bill would remove this cap and ensure all applications can be considered in a competitive review process regardless of the type of provider.

“In many cases, federally qualified health centers are the only applicants for funding because they are the only health centers capable of providing these services. The arbitrary cap is a disincentive for them to apply for these grant funds to improve access to care,” Ward said. “This bill will level the playing field and help these centers improve access to affordable, quality primary medical, dental and behavioral health services for all.”

The bill is supported by the Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers. 



CONTACT:  Cheryl Schriner (717) 787-5490

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