National Health Center Week 2022 is being celebrated both in person and virtually this year from August 7 – August 13. Elected officials will join communities across the country in elevating the work Community Health Centers have done while fighting on the front lines of COVID-19 to keep our communities healthy and safe. Their visits and messages will demonstrate that not only is it possible to move beyond the partisan divide over health care, but to support and agree on a program vital to our communities.
Health centers provide preventive and primary care services to nearly 29 million people and have continued to do so while facing a global pandemic. Community Health Centers provide care to people who disproportionately suffer from chronic disease and lack access to affordable, quality care. While our approach is community-based and local, collectively we are the backbone of the nation’s primary care system. Community Health Centers lower health care costs to the tune of 24 billion dollars a year, reduce rates chronic diseases, and stimulate local economies.
Community Health Centers like El Rio Health are not just healers, we are innovators who look beyond medical charts to address the factors that may cause poor health, such as poverty, homelessness, substance use, mental illness, lack of nutrition, and unemployment. We are a critical piece of the health care systems and collaborate with hospitals, local and state governments, social, health and business organizations to improve health outcome for people who are medically vulnerable. We have pivoted to serving our communities through telehealth, drive through COVID-19 testing, and still ensuring our patients can access basic necessities like food and housing resources.
While COVID-19 continues to exacerbate social and medical inequities across the country, Community Health Centers have stretched themselves to reconfigure services for those in need. As unemployment rates rise and more people lose their employee-sponsored health insurance, Community Health Centers must remain open to provide care for all, regardless of insurance status.
The mission of Community Health Centers remains crucial today because access to basic care remains a challenge in parts of the United States. Many people live in remote and underserved communities where there is a shortage of providers and, in many cases, the nearest doctor or hospital can be as far as a 50-mile drive in another county.
Congress must act immediately for CHCs to continue to serve as health care homes. Long-term and stable funding for Community Health Centers will ensure we can keep our doors open and close the growing access gap for medically vulnerable communities.
Show your support during National Health Center Week by supporting a health center in your community. We will be there when you need us.
To learn more about National Health Center week, visit www.healthcenterweek.org
Health Care for the Homeless, Monday August 8th. Socks are one item that our homeless community are always in need of. We recently had a month-long sock drive with donation boxes at all of our health centers. The socks will be donated to the Gospel Rescue Mission.
Patient Appreciation Day, Wednesday, August 10th: We provide care for over 125,000 patients here in Pima County. We know that a healthy community is a strong community and we appreciate all our patients. We will be providing water bottles and granola bars for our patients in all our health centers – while supplies last.
Stakeholders Appreciation Day, Thursday, August 11th: El Rio will be hosting a Community Recognition Ceremony at the recently opened Abrams Health Center. Team members from both El Rio Health and Banner – University Medicine will be recognized for the partnership that helped create Abrams Health Center.
Staff Appreciation Day, Friday, August 12th: We will honor our staff for the compassion and care they provide for our patients and community. El Rio employs over 1,700 and has multiple teams that are dedicated to our mission of improving the health of our community through comprehensive, accessible, affordable, quality and compassionate care.
Children’s Health Day, Saturday, August 13th: We will have giveaways at our Congress and El Pueblo Pediatric Departments. The National Association of Community Health Centers also partnered with Sesame Street In Communities (SSIC) for Children’s Health Day. The SSIC website (www.SesameStreetinCommunities.org) features hundreds of FREE activities ranging from ABC’s & 123’s, to health and wellness, to tougher topics like coping with traumatic experiences. Coloring pages and the My Healthy Week Chart can be downloaded HERE.