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Statement on CNCS OIG Report on Community HealthCorps Program

Friday, April 29, 2016  

Statement of E. Benjamin Money, Jr., NCCHCA President and CEO on Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) Office of the Inspector General's (CNCS OIG) Report on Community HealthCorps Program

The Corporation for National & Community Service Office of Inspector General (CNCS OIG) recently closed an investigation of the National Association of Community Health Centers’ (NACHC’s) oversight of a Community HealthCorps grant, a program of Americorps. In a report issued April 26, CNCS OIG found that between 2013 and 2015, NACHC’s failure in oversight allowed a few AmeriCorps volunteers to provide emotional support (doula care) to women during legal abortion procedures at a New York subgrantee. This was a violation of the Serve America Act which authorizes the AmeriCorps program, and expressly prohibits the use of AmeriCorps resources to “provid[e] abortion services or referrals for receipt of such services.”

The NC Community Health Centers Association and its members are appalled that a few volunteers at a community health center program in another state apparently acted out of compliance with federal law. As an affiliate member of NACHC, the North Carolina Community Health Center has been reassured by NACHC’s current leadership that NACHC itself reported the issue to the CNCS OIG, has been fully cooperating with CNCS OIG, and has taken the appropriate steps toward corrective action. Specific questions about the CNCS OIG’s report and the entities involved should be directed to the National Association of Community Health Centers.

North Carolina Community Health Centers take the Hyde Amendment, the federal legislative provisions prohibiting community health centers from using federal funds to pay for abortions or support for those services, very seriously. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is the oversight body for community health centers, also known as federally qualified health centers (FQHC). HRSA conducts regular on-site reviews of all FQHCs. There have been no violations of the Hyde amendment in any HRSA site visit reports of North Carolina FQHCs. North Carolina community health centers do not plan to, nor are they seeking to, become providers of abortion. The core set of services and mission of community health centers are to provide preventive and primary health care services. Abortion does not fit into our model of care.

About the North Carolina Community Health Center Association: The North Carolina Community Health Center Association (http://www.ncchca.org) serves as the collective voice for North Carolina’s Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Look-alikes (LAs)—aka Community Health Centers (CHCs). Our members offer a patient-governed, patient-centered health care home that integrates high quality medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, and enabling services without regard to a person’s ability to pay. North Carolina’s 38 FQHCs are geographically dispersed across 74 counties and operate approximately 200 clinical sites.

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