Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07)
October 22, 2020
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) today issued the following statement on the announcement that Jim Hunt, a champion for Community Health Centers, is retiring after more than four decades as chief executive of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers.
“Our Community Health Centers have served as a critical lifeline for our most vulnerable communities throughout the Commonwealth and the nation, providing life-saving, affordable, and patient-centered resources to countless children, people experiencing homelessness, immigrants and veterans. Much of this is owed to the outstanding leadership of my friend Jim Hunt, who made it his life’s work to bring this high-quality, low-cost and community-based healthcare to the Commonwealth’s most underserved neighborhoods.
“As the Congresswoman for the Massachusetts 7th Congressional District—home to the highest concentration of CHCs in the state—I have nothing but gratitude for Jim’s service and his partnership in working to affirm healthcare access and justice for communities in my district and beyond. I am especially grateful to the Hunt family for their contributions to the Dorchester neighborhood, the city of Boston, and to the Commonwealth.
“As we celebrate Jim’s well-deserved retirement, we must remain clear-eyed about the work that lies ahead. We continue to be in the midst of an unprecedented public health crisis that has strained our Community Health Centers and disproportionately impacted millions of low-income and other marginalized people across the nation—particularly our Black and brown communities. With this pandemic worsening daily, we must continue working to ensure our CHCs in Massachusetts and across the country have the resources necessary to continue the critically important work of providing high-quality health services to our most vulnerable communities throughout this crisis and long after.”
Congresswoman Pressley has been a steadfast and unapologetic champion for community-based health care programs throughout her time in Congress. She is an active member of the Congressional Community Health Centers Caucus and has consistently and successfully advocated for increased resources for our Community Health Centers as they serve on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- In July, Congresswoman Pressley and Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) led a letter with 54 other lawmakers to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) urging the agency to provide additional funding to community health centers (CHCs) as they continue to work on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- In May, Congresswoman Pressley and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), along with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and over 135 of their colleagues, wrote to congressional leadership urging them to provide at least $77.3 billion for community health centers (CHCs) in upcoming coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) stimulus packages.
- In April, she joined her colleagues in the Massachusetts Congressional delegation in announcing over $35 million in funding for Massachusetts community health centers to assist in combating the COVID-19 outbreak.
- In March, sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence, in his capacity as head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, urging the Task Force to consider the needs of the nation’s 1,400 community health centers. The Congresswoman also led a call for Governor Baker to prioritize the needs of community hospitals and community health centers that primarily serve Medicaid and uncompensated care patients across the Commonwealth with new funding provided from the passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
- Last year, she helped secure $1.6 billion in funding for the Community Health Centers program and fought for funding to support school-based health centers.
- She also led more than 85 of her colleagues in urging House and Senate leadership to pass a strong, long-term extension of the Community Health Center Fund, which ultimately led to the inclusion of $10 billion in program and capital improvement funds for CHCs as part of H.R. 3, the Elijah Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act.
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