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Valley Healthcare System, Inc. is  part of a week long campaign (August 9-15) to raise awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s Health Centers.  The national celebration comes on the heels of new data that shows health centers now serve over 24 million people (or one in 14 Americans) as the largest and most successful system of primary healthcare.

One of the bright spots in America’s healthcare system, health centers started 50 years ago as a pilot project during President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. Today, they have compiled a significant record of success that includes:

  • Reducing income and ethnic health disparities nationwide, even in the poorest and most challenged communities
  • Reducing infant mortality rates
  • Producing $24 billion in annual health system savings
  • Reducing unnecessary hospitalizations and unnecessary visits to the emergency room
  • Maintaining patient satisfaction levels of nearly 100 percent

Health centers are also increasingly becoming the trusted provider of choice for many families – and over nearly 300,000 veterans.  Evidence shows patients choose health centers because they are convenient, affordable, and offer a range of services from a team of caring professionals.  Over 60 percent of health centers are recognized as patient-centered medical homes (PCMH).  Studies also show the quality of care at a health center is as good or even better than private practices.

Every day in our waiting rooms, we witness the value of having a patient-centered healthcare home. When people have a place to go for regular care, they use it and stay healthier. We provide a range of services onsite – primary care services, pediatrics, pharmacy, dentistry, even mental health services. Our patients not only get the care they need under one roof, but they are treated as individuals, with dignity and respect. This is what healthcare should be, and what we celebrate during NHCW.

Although local solutions, health centers need sustained federal investment to meet the growing demand for their services and help more Americans gain access to affordable healthcare.  To learn more about health centers and the #Access is the Answer campaign please visit the following links:

National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) at www.nachc.org.

www.healthcenterweek.org.

You can also follow the conversation using #NHCW15  on Twitter.

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