Governor Corbett Signs Senate Bill 5, Increasing Access to Health Care in Rural and Underserved Areas

Aug 13, 2013, 14:30 ET from Pennsylvania Office of the Governor

CHESTER, Pa., Aug. 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett today ceremonially signed Senate Bill 5, which provides $4 million in the 2013-14 state budget to fund community health centers and additional medical services in rural and underserved areas of the state.

"Increasing access to care is one of the most critical steps we can take in improving our healthcare system," Corbett said. "Community-based clinics provide access to preventative services that help to keep Pennsylvanians healthy."

Senate Bill 5 or Act 10 of 2013, sponsored by Sen. Edwin Erickson (R-Chester), establishes the Community-Based Health Care program. It supports the creation of new community-based healthcare clinics and expands services at existing clinics that serve low-income clients.

This includes facilities such as non-profit certified rural health centers, free or partial-pay health clinics, nurse-managed health clinics, non-profit hospital health clinics, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and FQHC look-alikes.

"In the Crozer-Chester Medical Center's service area, the emergency room often doubles as a primary healthcare provider," Erickson said. "But, as a direct result of the leadership and support of Governor Corbett, we can now provide the tools and the funding needed to establish healthcare clinics where they are needed most. This will allow residents to access coordinated primary and preventative health care, saving health care dollars and improving lives."

The grants, distributed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, require a matching commitment. Recipients can apply to use funding from the grant:

  • Toward the expansion of an existing, or the development of a new, community-based healthcare clinic;
  • For improvements in prenatal, obstetric, postpartum and newborn care;
  • For improved access to services; and
  • For the establishment of collaborative relationships among community-based health clinics, hospitals and other healthcare providers.

"Community-based care encourages all individuals, including the uninsured and underinsured, to receive primary and preventative care and build stronger relationships with their primary care provider," Corbett said. "This bill allows our citizens to better manage chronic conditions and reduces costly visits to the emergency room."

The bill was ceremonially signed today after Corbett took a brief tour of Crozer-Keystone Cancer Center, part of the Crozer-Keystone Health System in Chester. During the tour he viewed the facility's new varian linear accelerator, a machine that helps radiation oncologists with image-guided radiation therapy.

In addition to Erickson, Corbett was also joined today by Sen. John Eichelberger (R-Blair), Rep. Nicholas Micozzie (R-Delaware), Rep. Tom Killion (R-Delaware),  Rep. Joseph Hackett (R-Delaware), Rep. Nick Miccarelli (R-Delaware) and Secretary of Health Michael Wolf.

Media contactChristine Cronkright, Governor's Office, 717-783-1116
Aimee Tysarczyk, Health, 717-787-1783

SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor