Advocating for Your Community Health Center
Supporting community health centers supports access to health care for everyone. Nationwide, such centers are an integral part of the nation’s health care system and provide access to care for almost 23 million people in about 9,000 service sites; HopeHealth alone addressed the needs of more than 34,000 people in 2015.
While federal funding has enjoyed bipartisan support for the past 50 years, the final vote for the Fiscal Year 2017 Labor, Health, and Human Services Appropriations bill that contains health center funding requests has yet to pass the House. These funding requests total $5.1 billion specifically for community health centers. Letting our legislators know that passing this bill is important to our communities is a key part of advocacy efforts by community health centers. Such advocacy efforts focus on several issues close to the heart of the HopeHealth organization. This year, coordinated efforts across the country are focused on increasing the network of individuals willing to advocate on issues such as funding and access to care. The 100K in 100 Days challenge does just that by seeking new advocates to join the 80,000 nationwide supporters of community health centers. The challenge launched in April and continues through the Aug. 7-13 National Health Center Week celebration.
At HopeHealth, we strive for excellence and, in conjunction with the challenge, are seeking to achieve gold status as an Advocacy Center of Excellence (ACE) – a recognition program through the National Association of Community Health Centers. Becoming an ACE demonstrates an actively engaged core at the center and a commitment to advocate for policy issues impacting health centers and their patients.
More than 214 HopeHealth advocates have already shown their support for community health centers and our goal is to grow this support. This can be as simple as signing up as a CHC advocate at any of our locations during Advocacy Wednesday on Aug. 10 or visiting http://www.saveourchcs.org/signup.cfm and listing HopeHealth as your community health center.
Why support your community health center?
While HopeHealth’s most important contribution to the community is the access to care for our patients, additional contributions include the myriad direct and indirect jobs created by the presence of a community health center and other benefits: By providing affordable, quality care, community health centers are an essential element in efforts to address the health – physical, mental and financial – of communities. Centers provide access to an affordable and quality primary care home for everyone. They help people establish long-term relationships with health care providers. They address the health needs of the entire person. They provide people an individualized pathway to achieving their health goals.
The 21 South Carolina health centers and their 144 service sites also contribute directly to state and national health systems by alleviating emergency departments and other health care systems in each locations community. In the Pee Dee alone, the 2015 average per-visit cost to visit an area emergency department was between $4,000 and $5,000. The average cost per patient per year for quality preventive care at community health centers like HopeHealth? Just $1,200. If just 1,500 people visit their primary care provider for non-emergency health needs instead of one visit to the emergency department it saves taxpayers an estimated $5 million or more.
For more on the benefits of such centers, visit the National Association of Community Health Centers at http://www.nachc.org or the SC Primary Health Care Association at http://www.scphca.org. Participate socially using #NHCW16 and #HH25years.
Be the Voice for Your Community Health Center
For more than 50 years, community health centers have provided high-quality health care in communities across the country. With the support of grassroots advocates, these centers have reached beyond medicine to improve lives, enhance access, reduce health care costs and create a positive impact. Add your support to theirs and help keep policymakers informed on the importance of community health centers. ‘Be the Voice’ for your community health center. Take the pledge to become an advocate today at http://www.saveourchcs.org!