Celebrating Community Health Center Week – August 5/11, 2012

Statement: HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Community Health Center Week

There are 8,500 health center sites across the country, treating more than 20 million people each year. They are the cornerstones of stronger communities. They also boost local economies, adding more than 25,000 jobs in the last three years. This year, as we celebrate Community Health Center Week and its theme of “Powering Healthier Communities,” we keep in mind that for 45 years, community health centers have served individuals and families whether they have private insurance, insurance through a public program like CHIP or Medicaid, or no insurance at all.

They are a proven health care model. When a community health center opens up or adds new services, the benefits can ripple through an entire community. They are a place where mothers can take their children for dental checkups, where seniors can fill their prescriptions, where families turn when they need help finding a job or access to child care services, and so much more.

Community health centers are one of the best investments our country can make in its future. This Administration has made expanding our nation’s network of community health centers a top priority.

Through the Affordable Care Act, we’re making an historic $11 billion investment in our nation’s community health centers. Health centers are already using some of these funds to add new locations, hire more providers and offer additional services to our nation’s most vulnerable populations. The law has also added thousands to the ranks of the National Health Service Corps to place doctors and nurses where they’re needed most.

These investments and the work of community health centers mean more people are getting primary care and staying out of the emergency room, which can lower health care costs for the whole community. They mean kids are getting the immunizations they need to thrive in school, which can raise educational achievement. They mean adults can fill prescriptions and manage conditions so they don’t miss work, meaning productivity can rise. And they can mean more jobs to bolster local economies.

Watch a MyCare video featuring Annie Neasman of Jessie Trice Community Center in Miami, Fla.: Annie’s story: http://www.healthcare.gov/blog/2012/05/mycare_annie.html . MyCare is an initiative to educate Americans about new programs, benefits, and rights under the health care law. It features people like Annie, who work at community health centers that improve health care in communities that need it most.

HHS Secretary Sebelius has held living room discussions with women around the country to discuss health care. During those discussions, doctors have had the chance to speak about how the Affordable Care Act is benefiting their communities. The health care law has increased funding for Community Health Centers and the National Health Services Corps, improving access to primary and preventive care for those who need it most.

We are building a stronger, healthier nation, one community at a time.

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