Panelists Dan Hawkins, NACHC:
Last year, Community Health Centers returned more than $2 from every dollar invested in the program, saving a total of $18 billion system-wide for every federal dollar invested. If every person in America received the care that’s provided by health centers, more than $500 billion could be saved in health care spending today.
Senator Merkley interjected, touting health centers as a ‘doorway into the health care system,’ to primary care and to other care. And, he says, we need a lot more doorways.
Panelist Fitzhugh Mullan, MD:
The National Health Service Corps brings doctors and other providers to areas that other providers will not practice. The Corps could be a ‘Muscular Samaritan’ – built out as we build health centers – to benefit the country by bringing providers to underserved, remote and difficult to reach populations.
Panelist Caswell A. Evans, DDS/MPH:
“The jawbone is connected to the toe bone.”
We must not forget that the body is a series of interconnected parts and we cannot ignore the need for regular dental care. Health centers – and their academic, hospital, public and other partners – grant underserved patients access to dental care, provide jobs and create opportunities for community engagement.
On the dental workforce and diversity: African Americans make up 25% of the population in this country. But only 3% of dentists are Hispanic/Latino and only 3% are African American.
Panelist Yvonne Davis, Community Health Center Consumer Board Member:
Having a health center in our community has made it possible for people who have lost their jobs to access quality care, purchase medicine at a reduced price and learn how to live a healthy and productive life. Health centers bring our community health care and education to keep ourselves healthy, they generate jobs and other business, and they provide a place for people to gather and be well.
“I have witnessed the power of community health centers firsthand and I know that all across the country Community Healthy Centers are ready to lead the way to health reform, providing high quality cost effective care for all in need.”
Panelist John Matthew, MD:
When care is unavailable, the community pays the bill. All communities would do well to have an FQHC – these services are not just for the poor, the Medicaid population – we see everyone, regardless of ability to pay; We do not discriminate against the insured.
In Vermont, it would have been impossible to address our community’s need without becoming an FQHC. Expanding the funding of Community Health Centers and the National Health Service Corps is what America needs, not just the poor, the uninsured, but all of us: health care for all.
“Health Centers are eager to be full partners in health reform – health centers turn the promise of coverage into the reality of high quality, cost effective care.” — Dan Hawkins