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Federal primary-care program for underserved areas is at risk despite successes
Modern Healthcare

A government program that is providing care for some 500,000 patients and has successfully increased the number of primary-care physicians in underserved areas is in danger of folding.

The federal Teaching Health Center program was created with a $230 million appropriation in Section 5508 of the Affordable Care Act and, as of 2014, it was helping to train 550 residents at 60 centers in 27 states and the District of Columbia in underserved rural areas and urban neighborhoods.  The program’s money is running low, but some advocates are hoping that an appropriation could be part of the next legislative “patch” Congress passes to postpone decreases in physician Medicare reimbursement set to go in effect April 1 as part of the sustainable-growth rate pay formula.

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