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Letter: Thanks to lawmakers for supporting health care

| April 14, 2022 1:00 AM

With the state legislative session wrapped up, we at Moses Lake Community Health Center want to acknowledge our state leaders, including Sen. Warnick, for their investments to restore and strengthen our health care system. Health care providers like us have weathered a lot over the past two years and were counting on support from the state. Thankfully, our representatives in Olympia are assisting our recovery from COVID’s financial and workforce impacts.

When the pandemic hit, community health centers statewide stepped up to the challenge, for our patients and our communities. At Moses Lake and Quincy Community Health Centers we conducted community-wide testing, vaccine administration, education and outreach, and social services outreach. We coordinated with Grant County Health District to provide community vaccination clinics, while simultaneously offering telemedicine to continue caring for our medical and behavioral health patients.

While our efforts were successful in protecting our communities and helping local hospitals, they came at a cost to our finances and resources. Our state’s payment models didn’t take our crisis response into account and were unintentionally hurting health centers. Leadership from Sen. Warnick and bipartisan support from the Senate fixed this problem to ensure financial stability for community health centers with critical funding to help us recover.

The final state budget includes other significant healthcare investments, such as increased funding for the Washington Health Corps Loan Repayment Program to attract professionals to work in underserved communities. A new supportive housing benefit for Medicaid enrollees who have medical risk factors and experience barriers to getting stable housing was another notable healthcare achievement this session, acknowledging the damaging impact of homelessness on health.

I’m proud the legislature supports community health, making it possible for us to be here for our communities now and in the future.

Sheila Berschauer

Moses Lake Community Health Center

Moses Lake