Murray Introduces Bill to Expand Community Healthcare Access

Sep 19 2007

Community Coalitions for Access and Quality Improvement legislation will assure access to coordinated, high quality services by authorizing grants to local communities

(Washington, D.C.) – Today U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) has introduced a bill to help expand and create a national network of local community healthcare access coalitions.   The legislation authorizes $75 million in funding for fiscal year 2008, which would increase the number of community health access coalitions in the United States from 250 to over 600. 

"I am pleased to introduce this critical legislation to help reduce healthcare costs and provide a higher quality of care," Murray stated.  "With this investment, we can provide healthcare to more people and actually save $ 2 billion a year in cost reductions."

U.S. Rep Adams Smith is a co-sponsor of companion legislation that was also introduced in the House today.

“I am proud to cosponsor the House version of this legislation to provide grants for community health access coalitions.  These funds enable coalitions to help improve health care access for uninsured and low-income Americans while lowering overall health care costs,” U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said.

The  bill will give community health access coalitions the resources to:

  • Educate consumers about the programs they are eligible for and facilitate their enrollment in those programs
  • Reduce inappropriate Emergency Room use by coordinating referrals to specialty care and mental health services
  • Support the primary care provided by Community Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics by organizing and amplifying the medical, mental health and dental practitioners’ who will commit to donated care for the uninsured
  • Maximize access to free and reduce price prescription drugs
  • Stop the erosion of insurance coverage offered by small employers
  • Improve the health status of low-income consumers of health care

Senator Murray has been a strong advocate for community health access coalitions.  In June she included $500,000 for CHOICE Regional Network in Olympia in the Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) Appropriations bill.  CHOICE is a local example of a strong community health access coalition. 

Learn more about Senator Murray's work on behalf of CHOICE Regional.