By Dorian Wanzer, Manager of Grassroots Advocacy, Outreach & Communications, National Association of Community Health Centers
Founded in 1971, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) is the national health care advocacy organization for America’s medically underserved and uninsured, as well as the community health centers that serve as their health care home.
Each year during the second full week of August – Aug. 12-18, 2018 – NACHC brings together communities across the U.S. to observe National Health Center Week (NHCW), an annual celebration that recognizes the contributions of America’s health centers over the past five decades.
Why Community Health Centers?
Community health centers serve 27 million patients, a number that continues to grow, along with the demand for affordable primary care. Health centers are an important source of primary care for the medically underserved and uninsured.
Ninety-two percent of health center patients qualify as low-income. Eighty-three percent are publicly insured or uninsured. Health centers work to eliminate barriers that uninsured and low-income individuals routinely face by offering health care services to all regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. By providing behavioral healthcare, chronic disease management, enabling services, and insurance enrollment, health centers increase access to care and lower health disparities.
National Health Center Week
NHCW is a time to reflect on the role that health centers play in delivering comprehensive care to all people. The goals of NHCW are twofold: (1) to generate community pride in, build support for, and emphasize the value of federally qualified health centers, as well as (2) enhance the visibility and profile of community, migrant, homeless, and public housing health centers.
NHCW also allows health centers to highlight all of their innovative services and programming that contribute to reducing disparities and promoting health and prevention. This week is a vital advocacy tool, providing health centers the opportunity to show their elected officials—at the local, state, and national levels—the important work that being done thanks to their bipartisan support and continued funding.
Cheers to Progress
Every year, NHCW inspires growth. In 2017, health centers hosted more than 1,800 local events across all 50 states, including 80 members of Congress, and garnered more than 50 million impressions on social media.
This year’s NHCW theme is Celebrating Health Centers: Home of America’s Health Care Heroes.
Focus days throughout the week highlight different groups within the health center world, from Healthcare for the Homeless Day to Agricultural Worker Health Day, Children’s Health Day, and more.
Visit www.healthcenterweek.org to find an event near you!
Editor’s note: Individuals with disabilities generally need medical evidence in order to proceed with their claim for SSDI benefits, highlighting the importance of health centers nationwide. Learn more at Expert.TrueHelp.com.