National Health Center Week: Community Care Access

Posted on August 14, 2017 by kerri

Across America, healthcare is in the forefront of both the media and the minds of most people—those who are healthy and those who live with a pre-existing medical condition. 1 in every 15 people in the US, in all states and territories, including D.C. and Puerto Rico, depend on the Health Centers in their communities to stay healthy. [1] Health centers typically serve underserved communities, and provide healthcare to people of all ages regardless of their ability to pay or their type of insurance (or if they are uninsured). [1, 2] While 6% of the population receiving care from Health Centers may not seem like a lot, this is a significant portion of the population—it’s roughly the same as the proportion of people who will experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime [3]. Most of us know someone who lives with anxiety, so chances are you may know someone who uses a Health Centre, too.

Emergency Nurse, ER Nurse

What services are offered at Community Health Centers?

As federally funded programs, Community Health Centers must offer services for vulnerable and underserved populations, regardless of a person’s ability to pay for doctors appointments and medical care. [4] Recently, investments have been made for addictions treatment to be more readily accessible at these health centers, as well as other mental health services. [4] Most health centers also integrate pharmacy services into their spectrum of care. [4] Typically, community health centres serve families and individuals who may have barriers to care access, including those who are homeless or live in publicly funded housing, agricultural workers (who are often immigrants or nonimmigrants on temporary/seasonal work permits [5]), and veterans who may have limited resources to access care. [4]

Why are Community Health Center important?

People who access care through Health Centers often have no other means by which to access health care. This means these people may become sicker than necessary because they have no or few resources to allocate to deal with illness—acute or chronic—or preventative healthcare. These populations also often experience higher rates of diseases linked to poor nutrition, as often, foods that are low in nutritional value are also lower in price. Community health centres provide care that is needed, including education and resources, to these communities. Regardless of life circumstances, community health centers attempt to give people a more equal chance at health by working with what that person can pay for care if they are uninsured—sometimes on a sliding scale, or sometimes through providing care at no cost. [4]

What is National Health Center Week?

National Health Center Week aims to raise the profile of the services that help vulnerable people and the programs that they provide. This includes public housing centers, community centers, migrant health, and resources for those who are homeless. [4.1] National Health Center Week is important because it helps raise awareness of these programs, and promote advocacy efforts that allow the existence of such programs through federal funding—in turn, promoting community health.

The importance of Medical ID jewelry for underserved populations.

As care may be sporadic, individuals with chronic care needs may require emergency care from a provider unfamiliar with their needs. A medical ID bracelet or necklace can help people who may have discontinuous care to get the right treatment when they need it. If you work with a community health center in your state, please contact us so we can discuss how together, we can help protect the health of vulnerable populations with important, durable medical ID jewelry.

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