U.S. Representative Vicky Hartzler met with administrators of Columbia’s Family Health Center on Tuesday. The center provides primary care for the medically underserved population by using a sliding fee scale that depends on a patient’s income level. Hartzler says the visit is part of her efforts to learn more about ways to help more people in her district gain access to quality health care.
“I would like to see them expand to other parts of the district that don’t have access to this care,” Hartzler said. “I'm going to take this information and share them with some of my counties that don't have this community health centers and hopefully they would want to open it in their area.”
But funding to expand federally qualified health centers like the one Hartzler visited in Columbia depends on Congressional appropriations. The Family Health Center receives $1.8 million in federal grants per year to support its three locations in central Missouri. Administrators say the grant is stretched thin, and the federal government doesn't adjust the size of the grant despite growth in the population the centers serve.