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Advocacy Alert: COVID-19 Emergency Federal Funding

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Did you know that The Night Ministry's Health Outreach Bus and Street Medicine Program do not qualify for the COVID-19 emergency funding passed by Congress? That's because the funds are limited to "Federally Qualified Health Centers" (FQHC's) and our programs operate as "Free and Charitable Clinics," which the Federal government does not consider an FQHC.

The Night Ministry's free medical services, and those of the 40+ other free and charitable clinic programs in Illinois, serve the state's most vulnerable residents. During the coronavirus pandemic, The Night Ministry and other free & charitable clinics are essential partners to the federal government. For example, we know that the medical services our Health Outreach Bus provides significantly reduce the rate in which clients use the emergency room for non-emergency medical care. This means that emergency care will remain available for Chicagoans with coronavirus symptoms and other medical emergencies. Additionally, as the pandemic disrupts the workforce across the country, the uninsured and underinsured working poor can rely on Free & Charitable Clinics for quality medical care that won't result in a backlog of bills that they can't afford.

INSTRUCTIONS: Please call Illinois' Senators Dick Durbin (202-224-2152) and Tammy Duckworth (202-224-2854) TODAY and ask the following:

  • Illinois's Free & Charitable Clinics should be an essential piece of our country's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, they do not qualify for federal funding, because they don't meet the definition of "Federally Qualified Health Center" under Section 330 of the Public Health Services Act.
  • So, as the Senate discusses additional funding to respond to the pandemic:
      • Include specific language naming "Free & Charitable Clinics & Charitable Pharmacies" as eligible entities to access all future coronavirus federal funding
      • Include "Free & Charitable Clinics & Charitable Pharmacies" as eligible entities in the newly created Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund.

  • If the Senators' phone systems direct you to leave comments through the website, Senator Durbin's comment page is https://www.durbin.senate.gov/contact/ and Senator Duckworth's page is https://www.duckworth.senate.gov/connect/email-tammy.

    IF THE SENATORS NEED MORE INFORMATION, they may email Tedd Peso at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    IF YOU ARE NOT AN ILLINOIS RESIDENT: We need your calls too! To find your Senators' contact information, please visit https://www.senate.gov/ and use the FIND YOUR SENATORS drop down on the upper right-hand corner of the site.

    Fulfilling Our Mission during the COVID-19 Pandemi...
    Before the Bus Hits the Road

    Mailing address: 4711 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago, IL 60640 |
    Phone: 773-784-9000 |
    Temporary Administrative Office: 1020 West Bryn Mawr Ave., Chicago, IL 60660 (please do not send U.S. Postal Service mail to the temporary address)