Photo: PennLive

State Treasurer John Chiang Thursday announced grants to a handful of San Diego County community health clinics that may lose federal funding due to Trump administration policies.

Policies include regulatory actions undermining the Affordable Care Act, potential cuts to Medicaid and Medicare as well as restrictions on Title X, which funds family planning and related health services, largely for low-income populations.

Title X funding is already prohibited from funding abortions; proposed restrictions would prohibit health providers from giving abortion counseling and referrals as well. They would also require a financial and physical separation between Title X-funded programs and facilities where abortions are performed.

In the grant program’s southern region, most awardees are in San Diego County. The majority of applicants cited the potential loss of Title X funding in their applications.

Planned Parenthood locations in Chula Vista, El Centro, San Diego and Vista were awarded grants ranging from $37,759 to $102,953.

Mountain Health clinics in Alpine, Campo, Escondido, San Diego and Santee were all awarded $250,000, the max grant amount.

The Samahan Health Center in Mira Mesa was awarded $175,201.

Overall, the California Health Facilities Financing Authority, created through legislation in 2017, awarded more than $8 million to 42 clinics statewide.

Funds aren’t intended to replace lost federal dollars, but instead act as mitigating funds to help clinics remain open while they source new funding.

“For many low-income Californians, community clinics are often their only source of health care. Tearing apart this vital safety net would have enormous consequences, leaving our most vulnerable residents with no access to primary and preventative care and no option for treatment other than costly emergency room visits,” Chiang said. “Here in California, we do not turn our backs to those in need. We will provide a helping hand to make sure men, women, children and undocumented immigrants continue to have access to the basic health care services they require.”

Clinics must demonstrate loss before being reimbursed for documented expenses. If a clinic doesn’t experience a loss, or use its entire award, money reverts to the Treasure’s Office for future grants.

Funding for the Lifeline grant program comes from principle and interest payments accrued over the last 15 to 20 years in the treasurer’s Help II Loan Program.

A second round of awards for roughly $12 million are expected later this year.

–City News Service

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