With The Coronavirus Pandemic Peaking In New York, NY’s 63 Health Centers Are Playing A Big Role On The Front Lines; However, Funding Allocated Through HRSA Is Not Need-Based & Is Disproportional To Severity Of NY’s Outbreak 

As Part of Marshall Plan for Healthcare, Schumer Allocated $$$ For Community Health Centers; However, Funding Must Be Fairly Distributed Schumer & Gillibrand Say 

Senators: New York Deserves More – Why Aren’t CHC’s Getting The Dollars They Need?

Following the passage of the bipartisan “Corona 3” legislation, which included a Schumer-negotiated $100 billion Marshall Plan fund for health providers on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand expressed their outrage to Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) over their distribution of $1.32 billion in emergency funding for community health centers (CHCs) Schumer had a direct hand in negotiating.

Schumer and Gillibrand explained that although New York 63 CHCs throughout the state received a portion of aid in the successful legislative responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as the hardest hit state, with more cases than any country in the world, New York’s CHCs need and deserve more resources as soon as possible. As pillars of New York’s healthcare system and lifelines to overflowing hospitals throughout the state, the senators argued that more funding for New York’s CHCs is critical as they continue to fight on the frontlines of the COVID-19 battle.

“New York’s community health centers are a cornerstone of the state’s healthcare system, on the very frontlines of the battle against COVID-19, and deserve the resources to sustain their vital operations,” said Senator Schumer. “To fight the battle against COVID-19 peaking in New York, it’s important we give our CHCs the proper armor, resources, and funding they deserve, which is why I am doing everything in my power to make sure that Upstate New Yorkers have access to medical help when they need it.”

“Community health centers provide a wide-range of critical services and they ensure our communities have access to quality health care,” said Senator Gillibrand. “As New Yorkers combat the coronavirus pandemic, we must ensure these vital health centers receive the funding they need. I am disappointed that the Trump administration is distributing these resources in a way that does not take into account the incredible challenges our health centers are facing due to coronavirus.”

Schumer and Gillibrand emphasized that the magnitude of COVID-19 spread in New York warranted special consideration and alarmed to learn that HRSA did not take severity of the outbreak in the state into consideration when determining how to allocate funding. The senators also revealed that New York’s CHCs are losing $30 million a week and are expected to lose $390 million collectively over the next three months. As a result, some CHCs have had no choice but to fire staff even during the pandemic.

On average, New York’s CHCs serve over two million New Yorkers a year. However, Schumer and Gillibrand said, as the state’s daily death tolls reach record highs and cases have been confirmed in all 62 counties, CHCs have been stepping up to the challenge and heroically fighting on the front lines.

NY Community Health Centers (CHCs)


# of CHCs

$ Grant totals

Buffalo - Western NY



Rochester - Finger Lakes



Binghamton - Southern Tier



Syracuse - Central NY



Albany - Capitol Region



Hudson Valley









Senators Schumer and Gillibrand’s letter to the Health Resources and Services Administration can be found below:

Dear Administrator Engels,

As our country faces these deeply difficult times and New York has become the international epicenter of COVID-19, we write to thank the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for quickly distributing the $1.32 billion in emergency funding for community health centers (CHCs) provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. However, we are deeply concerned that the methodology used to determine the distribution of those funds does not adequately take into consideration the unique burdens New York’s health centers are facing because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Although New York providers are undoubtedly some of the best in the world, there are more than 149,000 cases of coronavirus throughout New York State and proper support is essential.

New York’s community health centers are a cornerstone of the state’s healthcare system with over ten million patient visits annually. Now more than ever, New York’s 760 Community Health Centers have become a lifeline by continuing to step up, save lives, and fight this deadly battle on the frontlines.

HRSA received $100 million in supplemental funding for CHCs in Congress’s first legislative response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. The agency disbursed these funds using a distribution formula that failed to consider the challenges facing community health centers located in areas most impacted by COVID-19, like New York. Under this formula, New York received roughly 5% of the nationwide distribution which translated to only about $5 million for the state’s 63 health centers.

On Wednesday, April 8th, 2020, HRSA disbursed another round of funding for CHCs appropriated by the Congress in the CARES Act passed on March 27th, 2020. While we applaud the agency’s haste in distributing these funds to our health centers, we remain concerned about the formula that the agency employed in allocating these resources. In this latest round of funding, HRSA grants to New York health centers totaled just under $77 million, or just 5.8% of the total funds the Congress included in the latest coronavirus relief legislation.

We are disappointed and disturbed to see that the distribution formula HRSA employed for these funds only takes into account total patient volume and the uninsured patient volume and ignores the fact that New York health centers are also caring for patients in the areas hardest hit by an unprecedented global health crisis. The decision to apportion such a small percentage of these funds to our state’s CHCs occurred as New York tragically had the most coronavirus cases of any state in the nation and a death toll from the virus surpassing 6,200.

Many safety-net clinics in New York State, and other high-demand areas, have quickly pivoted to respond to the pandemic, causing them to shift resources away from routine primary care and toward caring for COVID-19 patients with limited and dwindling financial resources. Right now, New York health centers are losing $30 million a week and expect to lose $390 million over the next three months. We have heard from numerous New York community health centers, which are supporting the New York state hospital system’s capacity to address this crisis, that these financial difficulties are already forcing them to let go of clinical and non-clinical staff.

It is unacceptable that HRSA has chosen not to equip these frontline providers with more, desperately needed resources to continue to play a critical role in addressing this frontline crisis.




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