Each year during the third week in August, Community Health Centers (CHC’s) across the country commemorate National Health Center Week and celebrate the important role they play in America’s healthcare landscape.
Community Health Centers or CHC’s, like Callen-Lorde, are comprehensive and cost effective primary health care options for some of the country’s most underserved communities. In other words, CHC’s serve anyone who needs access to healthcare regardless of ability to pay or insurance status. Community Health Centers serve as a home for primary healthcare to over 25 million patients across the country, and provide services to 1 out of every 15 Americans. Community Health Centers also increase access to care as anyone, even people without health insurance, can receive services. In fact, approximately 20% or 1 in 5 of health center patients are uninsured. CHC’s also create savings and promote economic movement. In 2015, CHC’s were responsible for $45.6 billion in total economic activity generated, over $24 billion in savings to the entire health care system nation-wide, and for hiring over 120,000 full time staff for direct clinical care and wellness services. At Callen-Lorde, we have over 350 employees (and growing!) ready to provide services to our communities.
There are four key components that define Community Health Centers and the way we operate:
1. The first thing unique to community health centers are the patient-majority governing boards. Here at Callen-Lorde we have Community Advisory Boards (CAB’s) comprised of patients and other stakeholders. CAB members meet monthly to discuss programming and services, and they help inform how we provide our services. We have CABs for HIV, Trans Health, Senior Health, Health Outreach to Teens (HOTT) and Women’s Health among others. Ask how you can get involved!
2. Community Health Centers offer a comprehensive set of services. At Callen-Lorde our services including primary care, behavioral (or mental) healthcare, dental care, supportive services like Case Management and Health Education, and an onsite pharmacy. CHC’s serve as a medical home, or a one stop shop for patient centered healthcare.
3. CHC’s accept all patients regardless of ability to pay or insurance status. So long as a health center has openings, we will continue to provide services to those who need them the most. For those who are uninsured and want to learn more about navigating the system, we have a dedicated team of Facilitated Enrollers ready to assist!
4. Finally, CHC’s serve high need areas – either geographically, or population based. At Callen-Lorde this includes services to New York’s LGBTQ communities, in all their diversity, people living with HIV/AIDS, and the uninsured. We care for more than 18,000 patients who made over 100,000 visits in the last year alone!
CHC’s by the number:
Community Health Centers are truly essential to the health of our nation. More than 1 out of every 6 Medicaid recipients get their care at Community Health Centers, demonstrating the incredible role that this infrastructure provides.
Help celebrate National Health Center Week by stopping at one of our weekly tabling events at our Chelsea location the week of August 14th-19th for giveaways, information on our services and more. Show your support for CHC’s during Community Heath Center Week!