Funding increase urged for community-health centers James P. Kelly Executive Director SouthEast Lancaster Health Services, Inc.
Editor, New Era
Now that the elections are behind us, it is my hope that all of our newly elected and incumbent members of Congress will focus on the issue of affordable and accessible health care for everyone in need. The answer to this problem is very illusive and will probably not come anytime in the near future as there are so many different aspects of the issue of health insurance that require review and attention. Fortunately, we have a good model already in place, and that is SouthEast Lancaster Health Services, which is your local community-health center. SELHS provides a health-care home to thousands of people in our community. By being their regular source of care, we help all of our patients to lead healthy, productive lives and to stay out of the overcrowded hospital emergency rooms.Many of our patients do not have any other access to primary health care. At SELHS, we provide family- practice care, pediatric care, obstetrical care, gynecological care, mental health care, chiropractic care and patient education.We have a dental department that provides oral screenings, cleanings, fillings, crowns, dentures, root canals and extractions. Each Tuesday and Thursday morning, we provide an emergency dental walk-in clinic for oral-health emergencies.
The federal program that funds community-health centers has a 40-year record of proven success in reducing disease, increasing access to primary medical and dental care and in keeping down health-care costs. The program has unmatched bipartisan support and now serves nearly 16 million people across the country.The new Congress has the opportunity to put politics aside and continue the support of the community health center program. It is important that Congress pass legislation that will increase funding for community-health centers so that more people will have access to primary medical and dental care.
Let’s hope that Congress does the right thing and acts quickly and responsibly to support the efforts of community-health centers like your SouthEast Lancaster Health Services.
James P. Kelly
SouthEast Lancaster Health Services, Inc.