If you follow us on Facebook, you’ll notice earlier I posted a link to a news story on Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett’s plans to close some of the state’s health centers. In the story I posted, and in others I read, the writers incorrectly identified the entities to be closed as “Community Health Centers.” This was a teachable moment for me. I am new to NACHC and should have checked with the Primary Care Association of Pennsylvania first, but also it pointed to an issue—media outlets don’t always correctly distinguish federally funded Community Health Centers from other types of providers.
I didn’t have the knowledge that comes with time and I didn’t pick-up on a few clues in the articles that may have alerted me that in fact the story was not about our Community Health Centers. Now imagine if I was a reader with absolutely no knowledge of Community Health Centers. The result is confusion among media, patients, governments, and others as to who we are.
In the past NACHC has promoted ways to strengthen our Community Health Center brand and to help us avoid being lumped in with other providers. One tool was the adoption of the Community of Community Health Centers campaign. This is a national branding effort to strengthen the recognition of our Health Centers as a unified and nationwide network of quality community-based primary care providers. The branding effort distinguishes us from other providers as a unique and cost-effective Health Center model and as Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). Using the FQHC brand tools is meant to help reinforce our identity.
There are also other ways to educate audiences on the difference including:
- Always describe who you are and what you do as a Community Health Center in news releases, newsletters, on your website and in your social media (don’t rely solely on your Health Center’s name);
- Write or email your local media outlets to let them know when they have incorrectly identified another provider type as one of ours.
- Know and build relationships with local media who cover the issues affecting our health centers so they know who to contact if they need clarification or information.
For more information and to get the FQHC logo visit: http://www.nachc.com/FQHCBrandIdentityLogo.cfm