By the bioMérieux Connection Editors
Community Health Centers serve as a beacon of strength, service, and care in their communities, providing nearly 30 million underserved patients with access to comprehensive, primary and preventive care. The nearly 1,400 health center organizations, operating over 11,000 service delivery locations, reach America’s most underserved communities in every state and territory.
National Health Center Week (NHCW) is an annual celebration with the goal of raising awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s health centers over the past five decades. This NHCW (August 9 -15) honors those frontline providers, staff, and beloved patients who have lost their lives throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. From the beginning of the crisis, Community Health Centers began finding innovative ways to provide preventive and primary care to their patients. This year’s event theme embodies the perseverance of our frontline providers and their ability to make a difference going forward—“Community Health Centers: Lighting the Way for Healthier Communities Today and in the Future.”
In addition to serving patients by providing much-needed medical care, Community Health Centers help reduce healthcare costs. As of early 2020, it was estimated that these health centers save the healthcare system $24 billion annually and are narrowing health disparities throughout the country. Their average daily cost per patient is about 30% lower when compared to all physician settings and they save more than $2000, on average, per Medicaid patient. Of the thousands of health centers in the U.S, 45% are considered rural health centers. Additionally, these centers have been shown to perform better on ambulatory care quality measures such as diabetes and hypertension control when compared to private physicians.
The National Association of Community Health Centers asks NHCW participants to consider coordinating their celebrations around corresponding dates and focus days. This year’s focus days showcase the innovative ways that health centers are providing high-quality healthcare, improving health outcomes, and narrowing health disparities.
The 2020 focus days are:
- 8/9: Public Health in Housing Day
- 8/10: Healthcare for the Homeless Day
- 8/11: Agricultural Worker Health Day
- 8/12: Patient Appreciation Day
- 8/13: Stakeholder Appreciation Day
- 8/14: Health Center Staff Appreciation Day
- 8/15: Children’s Health Day
Health centers reach America’s most underserved communities to positively impact patients’ lives. They also create savings and economic growth as crucial parts of America’s healthcare infrastructure. This week, take part in NHCW and help spread awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s health centers!
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of bioMérieux, Inc.