It’s National Health Center Week - an opportunity to recognize the vital work of the community health centers that provide high quality medical, dental and mental healthcare for a huge number of people. We appreciate the work you do!
The week, Aug. 5-11, is celebrated by order of a presidential proclamation, in which President Obama states:
Across our nation, over 19 million Americans look to community health centers for medical checkups, education, advice, and critical services that keep them healthy. Throughout National Health Center Week, we recommit to supporting this vital resource for underserved communities, and we recognize the critical role community health centers play in our health-care system.
Every day, men, women, and children find help at community health centers. These centers lead the way in providing high-quality services at an affordable cost, while lifting up the quality of life for their patients. We see the results among Medicaid beneficiaries — those receiving care from a health center are less likely to be unnecessarily hospitalized or visit an emergency room. We also see the effects in rural areas with community health centers, where hospitals see fewer uninsured emergency room visits. These health centers are easy to access — Americans can find a health center near them by using the "Find a Health Center" tool at www.HRSA.gov.
In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported in 2011 that this network of community health centers has created one of the largest safety net systems of primary and preventive care in the country with a true national impact:
- Community health centers, supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), treated 19.5 million people in 2010, more than half of whom were members of racial and ethnic minority groups. Nearly forty percent had no health insurance; a third were children.
- In 2009, one out of every 17 people living in the U.S. now relies on a HRSA-funded clinic for primary care.
- Community health centers are an integral source of local employment and economic growth in many underserved and low-income communities. Since the beginning of 2009, health centers have added more than 18,600 new full time positions in many of the nation’s most economically distressed communities.
- In 2010, they employed more than 131,000 staff including 9,600 physicians, 6,400 nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants, and certified nurse midwives, 11,400 nurses, 9,500 dental staff, 4,200 behavioral health staff, and more than 12,000 case managers, health education, outreach, and transportation staff.
What better reason to have (at least a small slice of) cake!