SCHUMER: ANTHONY L. JORDAN HEALTH CENTER IN ROCHESTER NEEDS FED APPROVAL FOR CLOSE TO $2.4M IN “VITAL ACCESS PROVIDER” FUNDING; CENTER HAS BEEN WAITING TWO YEARS TO RECEIVE FUNDS – SENATOR URGES FEDS TO EXPEDITE RELEASE OF DESPERATELY NEEDED FUNDING TO HELP KEEP LIFE-SAVING AGENCY OPERATING AT FULL CAPACITY
Anthony L. Jordan Health Corp. in Rochester Provides Approximately 30,000 Patients Living in Poverty With Valuable Health Services, But is Currently Operating Without $2.4M in Medicaid Funds It Has Been Promised – Funding Has Been Awaiting Fed Approval For Over Two Years & Jordan Health Center Has Been Forced To Expend Its Own Reserves to Cover The Gap
Schumer Urges Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services to Quickly Approve Anthony Jordan’s Application for Fed Funds; Funding Will Help Anthony Jordan Increase Outreach, Re-Design Primary Care Systems
Schumer: Anthony Jordan is Vital to Reverse Roch Poverty Rate; Should Not Be Forced To Operate With One Hand Tied Behind Its Back
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer urged the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to quickly approve and release over $2.4 million in federal funds to the Anthony L. Jordan Health Corporation in Rochester – funding it has been waiting over two years to receive – so that the organization can continue to operate and serve residents in the City of Rochester. Schumer explained that Anthony Jordan, which provides care to 30,000 underserved Rochester patients who live below the poverty line each year, has been set to receive federal aid over the course of 2014, 2015 and 2016 through the Vital Access Provider (VAP) program, which helps safety net health care providers that are financially struggling. Thus far, however, Anthony Jordan has not received any of the funding they were supposed to receive, which it needs in order to stay financially strong over the long term. In a letter to CMS, Schumer urged the agency to work with New York State to quickly approve and release as close to $2.4 million as is deemed appropriate.
“Anthony Jordan is a lifeline to lift up thousands of Rochester residents living under the poverty line. Anthony Jordan Health Center provides invaluable services to underserved Rochester residents each year, but they are currently being forced to operate with one hand tied behind their back. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services owes Anthony Jordan a decision on an application worth over $2.4 million and it is well past time for this funding to be released,” said Senator Schumer. “Anthony Jordan is a vital asset on the front lines of addressing Rochester’s alarming poverty rate and now is not the time to withhold critical funding. For a mom struggling to get out of poverty who literally can’t afford to miss a day of work to get care for a sick child, Anthony Jordan is a lifeline. Anthony Jordan has a plan to put these federal funds to good use, using them to increase outreach efforts and re-design systems to better care for patients, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services needs to quickly approve their VAP application and get Anthony Jordan the funding it deserves right away.”
The Anthony L. Jordan Health Corporation is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that, as a health provider, serves as a true safety net for the Rochester community. With 99.4 percent of Jordan Health’s patients 200 percent below the federal poverty level, it serves the most vulnerable patients in the area. Schumer explained that Anthony Jordan serves the population where intervention is needed and required to help reverse Rochester’s poverty rate. The City of Rochester—and the region Anthony Jordan serves—is the fifth poorest city in the country and the second poorest among comparably sized cities, with a poverty rate of 16.2 percent. Currently, approximately 30,000 unique patients from the Rochester area receive primary care, dental care, and other medical services at Anthony Jordan. According to Anthony Jordan, that number grows by roughly 2,000 patients each year.
At Anthony Jordan, patients do not just receive health services, but can also be connected to social workers and other available anti-poverty resources. The organization provides valuable health and community-based services to the region. Schumer said this VAP funding would help these kinds of programs, as well as the critical health services the corporation provides, work in tandem to keep Anthony Jordan operational and increase its outreach and capacity to serve high-risk adolescents. These VAP funds would allow Anthony Jordan to redesign their primary care systems to reduce cost, boost efficiency, and pave the way to add an estimated 20 new, local jobs over the next 4 years. Specifically, doctors and staff would receive intensive new training to establish a team model for caring for a patient. Anthony Jordan would also purchase an E-Procurement System to boost office efficiency. Schumer said Anthony Jordan’s goal in buying this system and redesigning its primary care system is to allow doctors to have more time with patients and not be sidelined looking for old files, test results, and other medical records.
Anthony Jordan applied for Vital Access Provider funds through New York State, which supplements Medicaid funds and helps healthcare facilities in dire financial straits stay open to the public. The organization applied for and was approved by the state for a three-year award cycle of funds. Overall, Anthony Jordan was approved for $2.4 million, with half of the potential funding allocated directly by CMS and half allocated by New York State. In 2014 the organization was supposed to receive $856,000 and in 2015 $896,000; the remainder of the $2.4 million was to be released in 2016. To date, Schumer said, Anthony Jordan has not received a cent of these federal funds. Schumer today said that, Anthony Jordan has expended its own reserves to implement state-backed agency initiatives. Now, without the VAP funding, Anthony Jordan is feeling the financial stress of not having this funding.
Additionally, Anthony Jordan intended to use VAP funding to help it integrate and fund a new teen primary care and outreach program it took over last year. Namely, last year, the local non-profit, Threshold Center for Alternative Youth Services was facing closure due to financial difficulties, cutting off 2,400 teens that received primary care, family planning, and access to other services at Threshold’s locations at Franklin High School and at Community Place. Schumer explained that Anthony Jordan stepped in and took over Threshold’s primary care locations and continued to provide these services for the community, expecting that the VAP funding would help cover these new costs. Through this state-approved consolidation with Threshold, Anthony Jordan is striving to more efficiently and cost effectively continue to provide care in facilities in neighborhoods convenient to patients across Rochester, but the delay in receiving past-due VAP funding is creating an unnecessary burden.
In addition to Anthony Jordan, the Regional Primary Care Network which serves over 91,000 patients in portions of the City of Rochester, Livingston County, Wayne County, and Utica was likewise set to receive $2.2 million in VAP funding, but has yet to receive any of the funding.
Schumer today urged CMS to approve and provide funds to Anthony Jordan and the Regional Primary Care Network. Schumer explained that this urgently needed funding supplements Medicaid funds, which will help these organization to continue to provide vital health care services. Schumer pushed CMS to work closely with New York State so the money is released as quickly as possible. The Vital Access Provider (VAP) Program is critical to assisting New York in meeting its goals of transforming the healthcare delivery system through meeting community service needs, improving the quality of care and increasing health equity for populations at risk. Facilities like Anthony Jordan care for vulnerable members of their communities and provide critical health services to patients every day while striving to more cost effectively continue to provide this care, and the delay in receiving VAP funding is creating unnecessary burdens.
A copy of Senator Schumer’s letter to CMS appears below:
Dear Acting Administrator Slavitt,
I write on behalf of 11 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) and the over 500,000 patients they serve in New York. Specifically, I urge the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to work with the New York State Department of Health to approve pending State Plan Amendments (SPA) designed to allow a temporary increase in Medicaid funding for more than $8.3 million through the state approved Vital Access Provider (VAP) Program.
The 11 FQHCs with pending applications are: Access Community Health Center, Anthony L. Jordan Health Corporation, Apicha Community Health Center, East Hill Family Medical Inc., Finger Lakes Community Health, Hudson River Health Care, Inc., Morris Heights Health Center, Inc., Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center Network, Regional Primary Care Network, Inc., the Floating Hospital and the Institute for Family Health. These are true safety net providers for their communities with 81.5% of the 506,500 patients living below 200% of the federal poverty level.
The Vital Access Provider Program is critical to assisting New York in meeting its goals of transforming the healthcare delivery system by focusing on community service needs, improving the quality of care and increasing health equity for populations at risk. These applications have been pending approval at CMS for over 2 years with ongoing communication between CMS and the New York State Department of Health. All of these facilities are caring for vulnerable members of their communities and providing critical services. While they are striving to more efficiently and cost effectively continue to provide care in facilities in neighborhoods convenient to patients throughout the state, the delay in receiving VAP funding is creating unnecessary burdens.
As we continue to work together to build an integrated health care system where we are constantly improving quality of care, increasing capacity to serve our communities, engaging people in primary care and preparing to fully move to payment for value, not volume, our vital providers need your support. Therefore, I ask your immediate assistance to approve these applications and this vital funding. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions or concerns. Thank you for your assistance to this timely issue.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator