They’re treating uninsured Americans. But as pandemic ramps up, money is running out.
Phil McCausland9h ago / 4:30 PM UTCHealth centers, like the International Community Health Services in Seattle, are facing the expiration of federal funding as coronavirus continues to spread.Chelsea Stahl / NBC NewsTime and resources at nonprofit community health centers, which serve approximately 29 million low-income Americans across 1,400 facilities like this one, are being stretched to their breaking point amid the coronavirus outbreak even as they could prove essential in combating its spread.Their ability could be further handicapped very soon: Federal funding that accounts for 70 percent of these nonprofit health centers’ budgets will run out in May.“The unknown is an added stress for everyone,” said Dr. Asqual Getaneh, the medical director for International Community Health Services in Seattle, noting their pharmacies are running short on essential medications. “There’s also stress associated with whether or not we have the supplies to protect ourselves and take care of patients who are symptomatic. We’re told this is the tip of the iceberg for this epidemic, so we’re seeing a lot of people coming in and trying to figure out how best to deliver care.”That is a challenge for these nonprofit health centers, which were first funded by the federal government more than