Here is another in our continuing series of articles about things going on around Rochester.

Sen. Charles Schumer of New York is urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to release approximately $5 million owed to Rochester-area health facilities, the Democrat and Chronicle and Rochester Business Journal have reported.

The Anthony L. Jordan Health Center is slated to receive $2.4 million, and the Regional Primary Care Network has been promised $2.2 million.

Schumer has sent a letter to the acting administrator of CMS, Andrew Slavitt. The absent funds are just a portion of $11 million that have been appropriated but not distributed as part of the federal Vital Access Provider program. The funds are for the 2014-2016 period.

The VAP program is intended to serve low-income populations. Jordan offers medical and dental services to about 30,000 patients in the Rochester area, and its patient population is comprised of more than 50% Medicaid enrollees. It also provides care to uninsured and underinsured patients.

The Regional Primary Care Network also focuses on providing care to low-income residents in parts of Monroe, Livingston, Wayne and Oneida counties.

“All of these facilities are caring for vulnerable members of their communities and providing critical services. While they are striving to more efficiently and cost effectively continue to provide care in facilities in neighborhoods convenient to patients throughout the state, the delay in receiving VAP funding is creating unnecessary burdens,” Schumer’s letter reads.

Schumer was also a signatory on a letter sent this month encouraging CMS to maintain current payment rates for seniors enrolled in Medicare.

Funding delivered through Medicare and Medicaid is one of the major ways the federal government is involved in local healthcare. In addition to providing funds for qualified hospitals and clinics, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General compiles a List of Excluded Individuals/Entities that informs the healthcare industry and the public of parties prohibited from receiving funds from Medicare, Medicaid or other federal health programs.

But funding delays can seriously impede patient care at facilities that can’t afford to cover costs on their own and then wait for reimbursement. “We can’t spend money we don’t have in hand,” Jordan CEO Dr. Janice Harbin told the DandC March 10.