Health Center News, Uncategorized

CA: Health Center Growth and Health Reform

By: Beau Boughamer

Health center voices are being heard again through powerful editorial statements.

Naomi Fuchs — CEO of Southwest Community Health Center in Santa Rosa, Calif. — penned an op-ed for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat that reflected on gaps in the U.S. health care safety net and the need for reform.

The number of patients we treat has nearly doubled in three years — from 12,911 in 2006 to 24,576 as of July. By the end of this year, we expect to have 30,000 patients.
We’ve grown from one small clinic in southwest Santa Rosa to seven clinics in the city. We receive 200 calls a week from people wanting to become new patients at the health center. However, our clinics are so busy that new patients often have to wait two to three months to get an appointment.
When people in Santa Rosa lose their health care benefits because they’ve lost their jobs, they turn to us. When hard-working people can’t afford health care premiums, they become our patients.
We conducted a study which showed that the explosive growth we’ve been seeing in patients will continue. We expect an additional 5,000 Medi-Cal recipients and 4,500 uninsured people in Santa Rosa will need care by 2013.
What does all this growth attest to? It demonstrates that too many of our friends, neighbors and coworkers do not have the health care safety net that all people deserve.
And underlying that, it demonstrates that the time for national health care reform is now.
I’m heartened by the swift passage of health care reform legislation through the House of Representatives. It demonstrates that we are on the way to becoming a truly compassionate and responsible nation — a country where everyone is valued and can receive medical care as an essential human right.
As this legislation moves into the Senate, I urge you to voice your support by contacting Sen. Barbara Boxer (boxer.senate.gov) or Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Feinstein.senate.gov) of California.

The number of patients we treat has nearly doubled in three years — from 12,911 in 2006 to 24,576 as of July. By the end of this year, we expect to have 30,000 patients… We conducted a study which showed that the explosive growth we’ve been seeing in patients will continue. We expect an additional 5,000 Medi-Cal recipients and 4,500 uninsured people in Santa Rosa will need care by 2013.

What does all this growth attest to? It demonstrates that too many of our friends, neighbors and coworkers do not have the health care safety net that all people deserve.

And underlying that, it demonstrates that the time for national health care reform is now.

I’m heartened by the swift passage of health care reform legislation through the House of Representatives. It demonstrates that we are on the way to becoming a truly compassionate and responsible nation — a country where everyone is valued and can receive medical care as an essential human right.