POMEROY — National Health Center Week has arrived and the Meigs County Commissioners thought it important to highlight their role in the community by issuing a proclamation declaring their support.
Designation of the week of Aug. 7-13 offers communities an opportunity to recognize America’s health centers and their role in shaping the future of America’s health care system.
Representatives from Hopewell Health Center Inc. in Pomeroy were in attendance at Thursday’s meeting. Amber Johnson, site manager, Kayla Skidmore and Kaitlin Liptrap, dental assistants, and Tracy Cundiff, front office specialist, listened as Commissioner Tim Ihle read the proclamation.
“For over 50 years, Community Health Centers have provided high-quality, affordable health care in our nation’s under-served communities, demonstrating that locally governed healthcare can improve lives while lowering costs.”
The proclamation went on to describe that what began as a small demonstration project in two states grew into the country’s largest primary care network. Health Centers now serve over 24 million Americans with more than 9,000 delivery sites across the nation, and stated, “Health Centers provide high-quality, cost-effective and accessible primary and preventive care, including integrated medical, oral, vision, behavioral health and pharmacy services, to all individuals regardless of insurance status or ability to pay.”
Hopewell Health Center Meigs is located at 41865 Pomeroy Pike, Pomeroy. For more information visit hopewellhealth.org.
Health Centers are located in medically underserved areas and locally controlled by patient-majority boards in an effort to ensure they remain responsive to the needs of the community they serve.
The centers are locally owned and operated small businesses, and in addition to providing health services “serve as critical economic engines, helping to power local economies by generating billions of dollars in combined economic impact and creating jobs in some of the country’s most economically deprived communities.”
Nationally, Health Centers employ nearly 170,000 people. More than 11,200 physicians and 9,000 nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and certified nurse midwives work as part of a multi-disciplinary clinical team designed to treat the whole patient.
The proclamation continued, “The Health Center model continues to prove an effective means of reducing healthcare disparities and overcoming barriers to healthcare access, including geography, income and insurance status, and in doing so, improves health care outcomes and reduces health care system costs.”
Health Centers are reported to save the entire health system approximately $24 billion annually by managing chronic conditions and keeping patients out of costlier health care settings, like hospital emergency rooms.
Even with these efforts, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 17 percent of Americans (or more than 55 million people) still did not a have a regular place to go for health care in 2014.
Many existing centers are already at capacity as the demand continues to outpace growth. Many in the medical community believe the expansion of health centers’ capacity and reach will be essential to meeting the needs of new patients.
The commissioners praised the representatives from Hopewell Health for their contribution to the health care needs of the Meigs community, and said they were glad Meigs County could be a part of recognizing their efforts.