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Community health centers scrambling for cash after NYS 340B change

Evergreen health and other centers statewide scrambling for resources after state change
Posted at 6:00 PM, Apr 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-26 18:38:13-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — In March, leaders of community health centers warned 7 News about negative consequences if funding from the 340B program was cut by the state.

It was, as part of a carve out of the program and transition to a new one. Nearly one month later, local facilities say they're essentially defunded.

"Every month that ticks by, Evergreen health loses about $1.2 million. We're currently in a hiring freeze," said Mike Lee, COO of Evergreen Health.

People in Buffalo receive all kinds of services there. The location on Bailey Avenue is where Liza Pereira gets her HIV treatment.

"I have to have my medication every two months. And if the pharmacy at evergreen is not able to do that for me? Where am I gonna be?" asked Pereira.

Liza Pereira smiles, tells 7 News she's not only living with HIV but thriving after 29 years
Liza Pereira smiles, tells 7 News she's not only living with HIV but thriving after 29 years

Not only does it impact her health, it impacts her ability to pay the bills as an employee there.

"Evergreen possibly is gonna make some cuts somewhere right? Is my job the first one to go? I don't have a job, I don't get medication. Am I back out on the street? What happens to me? Nobody thought that part out," said Pereira.

It's not just Evergreen, community health centers statewide are in a cash crunch.

"Providers are scrambling, we're scrambling to meet the needs of our clients without funding. It's not how you run healthcare in New York," said Matthew Bernardo, Executive Director of Housing Works.

What does New York State have to say about this?

Representatives from the department of health say 340B is not going anywhere and that their mission is to protect the health of all New Yorkers. The plan is to re-imburse health centers.

7 News Reporter Taylor Epps asked when that will happen.

A spokesperson wrote her back saying $700 million will go back to providers shortly after the budget is finalzed.

"The Department is confident that funding will be distributed prior to providers experiencing significant cash flow challenges and recommends that any provider treating an individual in need of additional services reach out to the Department directly to help and/or connect that individual to supportive services," wrote the spokesperson.

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