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Local health clinic could feel impact of looming 'fiscal cliff' - KOAM TV 7

Local health clinic could feel impact of looming 'fiscal cliff'

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Medical, dental and behavioral health services, along with time and help in general might soon be cut short for those that are uninsured or on Medicare or Medicaid in Southeast Kansas.

The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas has already been awarded it's grant for the 2012-2013 year, but there is a chance that money could be cut short if the nation falls off the 'fiscal cliff'.

Monday was another busy day for the Community Health Center, a place where Krista Paine says she prefers taking her family.

"I have a child that has behavioral, and sometimes I have to get him in ASAP to see a therapist to try to calm him down and get him situated and they are one of the only ones that stays open late enough to get him in if I need it," says Paine.

But 18% of the Center's funds that comes directly from the federal government could be cut, along with another 18% to 20% it gets indirectly from the Kansas Medicaid program.

"If there is a 'fiscal cliff' and if Congress decided to cut health and human services, health resources services administration budget then that could obviously have an impact on us," says Douglas Stuckey, the Chief Financial Officer for Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas.

If funding is cut the Center will have to shorten its hours of operation and also cut back the amount of services they provide to Southeast Kansas residents.

"That would really put a strain on my family just because I work 40 hours plus at my job and it's convenient to have them open late when I need them," says Paine.  "If it gets cut then that could put my kids at risk and that could put me in quite a bind."

While no decision has been made, Stuckey says the long term effects of a possible fall worry him.

"We just hope it doesn't impact those uninsured in the state of Kansas that need our services," says Stuckey.

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