City and county officials proclaimed Aug. 8-14 as National Health Center Week, in celebration of the “legacy of America’s Community Health Centers, and their vital role in shaping the past, present, and future of America’s health care system.”
Sulphur Springs Mayor John Sellers during the regular City Council meeting Tuesday, Aug. 3, and Hopkins County Judge Robert Newsom during the regular Commissioners Court meeting Monday, Aug. 9, 2021, each read a proclamation designating the week in the city and county. Each encouraged “all Americans to take part in this week by visiting their local Health Center and celebrating the important partnership between America’s Community Health Centers and the communities they serve.”
Community health centers have for more than 50 years “have provided high-quality, affordable, comprehensive primary and preventive health care in our nation’s underserved communities, delivering value to, and having having a significant impact on America’s health care system,” the officials read from the proclamation.
Community health centers provide health care for 30 million Americans in more than 14,000 communities across the nation, in rural and urban communities. That’s one in every 12 people in the US who receives health care from a community health center, making them the country’s largest primary care network, the proclamations read.
They “often provide the only accessible and dependable source of primary care in their communities,” and healthcare provides at community health centers “develop new approaches to integrating a wide range of services beyond primary care, including oral health, behavioral health, and pharmacy services, to meet the needs and challenges of their communities.” They are governed by patient-majority boards, which engages patients in their own health care decisions.
“Community Health Centers are locally owned and operated small businesses that serve as critical economic engines, helping to power local economies by generating $63.4 billion in economic activity in some of the country’s most economically-deprived communities,” Sellers read from the proclamation.
CHCs reduce overall costs of care by helping manage patients’ chronic conditions, which keeps them out of costlier health care settings like hospital emergency rooms; and “are on the front lines of emerging health care crises, providing access to care for our nation’s veterans, addressing the opioid epidemic, and responding to public health threats, including COVID-19,” Newsom read from the document.