Celebrating America’s Health Centers

Posted August 11, 2014

By Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N., Administrator, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

In celebration of National Health Center Week we take great pride in recognizing the critical role health centers play in assuring more accessible, affordable, quality health care services to millions of people.

For more than 45 years, Americans have turned to their local Community Health Centers for vital health care services that help them lead healthy productive lives.  And today, 21.7 million patients receive health care services from the nearly 1,300 health centers operating more than 9,200 primary care sites across the nation.

The Power of Health Centers. National Health Center Week 2014. 21.7 million patients served. 86 million patient visits. 156 thousand staff employed. #NHCW2014. HealthCare.gov.For each of these individuals, and those who will turn to health centers for care in the future, the Affordable Care Act has helped to break down barriers so that people can get access to the right care when they need it. The health care law supports the establishment of additional health center sites to provide expanded opportunities for the newly insured to receive care.  Since its enactment, more than $6.7 billion Affordable Care Act funds have been awarded to health centers to offer a broader array of primary care services, extend their hours of operations, hire  more providers, and renovate or build  new clinical spaces. 

We know that health centers play an important role in helping the public learn about new coverage opportunities under the Affordable Care Act, by conducting outreach and enrollment activities that link individuals to affordable coverage options available through the Health Insurance Marketplace.  And this year, health centers across the nation have helped more than 6 million people find quality, affordable health insurance through the Marketplace and Medicaid.

As a result of efforts by health centers and others, a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that 10.3 million uninsured adults got covered since the Affordable Care Act’s Open Enrollment. And millions more can rest assured that quality, affordable health insurance will be available through the Marketplace if they ever need it, without worrying about being charged more or denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition.

Health centers are trusted resources in communities across this country and meet people where they are.  By expanding access to affordable health insurance through health centers, the Affordable Care Act has helped break through another barrier – the lack of affordable health insurance coverage. We will continue to support the work of our Nation’s health centers to make health care more affordable and accessible for millions of people.

During this week of celebration to honor our nation’s health centers, we want to say thank you for a job well done!

Content created by DCD
Content last reviewed on August 11, 2014