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Celebrating National Health Center Week 2019 from August 4ththrough 10th
Contact: Isabel Becerra, President & CEO
Coalition of Orange County Community Health Centers
Elected officials across the state will join communities in celebrating National Health Center Week 2019 from August 4ththrough 10th. Their visits and messages to Community Health Centers 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 6.9 million people in California. Without them, we cannot curb health care costs and protect communities from preventable diseases. 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 generate a ripple effect in California and nationwide.
The Coalition of Orange County Community Health Centers serves a diverse membership of 26 independent 501(c)(3) non-profit health care organizations that together operate 88 health center locations throughout Orange County. Through our primary care safety net, we serve over 370,000 patients annually. We are committed to providing quality, culturally and linguistically appropriate health care services to all. Our membership provides a comprehensive array of services including primary medical (pediatric/women’s health/youth/geriatric), dental, behavioral, vision, substance abuse and urgent care services.
Health centers 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 collaborate and partner with hospitals, local and state governments, social, health and business organizations to improve health for people who are medically vulnerable.
Health centers are not only on the front lines of natural disasters, such as fires, floods and tornados, but also man-made ones, such as the devastating national opioid crisis. We provided medication assisted treatments to 65,000 patients in 2017 and served more than 33,500 veterans.
Health centers’ mission is crucial today because access to basic care remains a challenge in California. 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. Community health centers in Orange County address the evolving local needs, such as: substance use disorder (SUD) treatment; whole-person care services for people experiencing homelessness; integrated care for meeting basic social needs that intrinsically affect health; and culturally and linguistically competent care for our growing diverse population.
Secure long-term funding for the health center program will ensure we close the access gap for medically vulnerable communities. Accomplishing this task depends on Congress. We are grateful that Congress members Harley Rouda, Mike Levin, Gil Cisneros, Katie Porter, and Lou Correa have shown leadership in supporting/sponsoring legislation that will protect health centers from losing a major part of their funding.
Show your support during National Health Center Week by visiting a health center in your community and follow us on social media @CoalitionOC. We look forward to seeing you.
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