By: NACHC Staff
Creative Loafing Tampa published a great piece that began with the groundbreaking for a new Tampa Family Health Centers location and went on to discuss the key role of health centers during the economic downturn.
After digging a gold shovel into the ground and daintily tossing the heap of dirt onto a tiny mound, US Congresswoman Kathy Castor, proclaimed, “ You earned it, you deserve it!”
“You” being the residents of Tampa Bay. “It” being a new community health center.
Charles Bottoms, TFHC’s CEO, said the center will offer diverse healthcare services, such as primary care, pediatrics, internal medicine, family practice and limited OB/GYN and mental health care, to the low-income and medically underserved residents of the community.
According to the National Association of Community Health Centers, such clinics provide primary care for more than 20 million Americans living in underprivileged communities. Currently, there are six Tampa Family Health Centers, with another being constructed on Dale Mabry near the University Community Hospital. TFHC clinics serve 25,000 patients annually. It makes a lot more sense to have a neighborhood clinic, Castor said, “where folks know the person on the other side of the counter, they know the doctor, they know the nurse.”
That’s not the only reason. Community health centers save taxpayers money.
“Where do folks go if they don’t have health insurance these days?” Castor asked. “They end up at the emergency room …they go to the place of last resort, the place that is the most expensive, the place that we all wind up paying for.”
Bottoms agrees. “We can do it a lot cheaper than emergency rooms.”