Lawmaker Proposes Health Centers To Help Rural Hospital Crisis | WABE 90.1 FM

Lawmaker Proposes Health Centers To Help Rural Hospital Crisis

Feb 13, 2017

A Georgia lawmaker has introduced a bill that would create up to 100 nonprofit health centers to serve low-income patients across the state.  

State Rep. Geoff Duncan of Cumming said the clinics, known as federally-qualified health centers, would be eligible to receive federal programs like Medicare and Medicaid. There are already about 200 centers of this kind in the state, he said.

Duncan said more clinics could help support the state's rural hospitals and give people closer access to health care.

“People are using the ER, the emergency room, as the access point to the health care system and unfortunately, that's the least efficient and least beneficial way to access the health care system,” he said. “We need it to be closer to the primary care setting.”

Duncan estimated creating the centers would cost about $25 million. He said he'd like for Georgia to serve as a pilot program for the country.

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