Community Health Centers marked their 50th Anniversary during 2015 in a communications campaign that celebrated their rich history as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty – as well as their challenged future. NACHC was able to create an historic timeline that retraces the remarkable evolution of health centers over the course of five decades. NACHC also produced a video titled, “People of the Health Center Movement,” which tells the story of the people of the health center movement who have dedicated their lives to the Community Health Center Movement.
Telling the anniversary story also brought into focus the challenging future health centers face in a changing healthcare environment. NACHC issued a report entitled Community Health Centers: Past Present and Future [see press release] which garnered notice in national media about the success of health centers but also the primary care funding cliff which imperiled their future. A round up of the coverage includes:
U.S. News & World Report: “New Report Shows Community Health Centers at Risk”
Former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and former Gov. Michael Leavitt (R-Utah) showed their support of the Community Health Center Movement by penning an op-ed urging Congress to act to save Community Health Centers that was featured in The Hill.
Health Leaders Media: “You would be hard pressed, however, to find a more cost-effective use of federal tax dollars—or any dollars for that matter—than the $11 billion that Congress and the Obama administration earmarked for community health centers back in 2010.”
Detroit News: “Health centers save about $24 billion in national health care spending by helping patients avoid emergency rooms and make better use of preventive services, according to the Michigan Primary Care Association.”
Washington Examiner: “About 7.4 million patients would no longer be able to access their medical professional at their local center, and nearly 57,000 clinicians and staff would be laid off under the so-called ‘fiscal cliff.’”
San Diego Tribune: “Since San Diego doesn’t have a county hospital, clinics provide a disproportionate share of treatment for low-income patients compared with other parts of the country. This should be a top priority for Congress.”
The positive coverage of health centers continued with a National Public Radio feature story about health centers and the demand for their care nationwide.
Another health center headline beyond the demand for care was the innovation by health centers in the area of Health Information Technology (HIT). Health centers were the cover story featured by Health IT News Day, which cited health centers’ work in quality improvement and EHR as “well ahead of the game.”
Health centers were also celebrated by the New York Times in an editorial that underscored health centers’ “long bipartisan history and robust bipartisan support.”
A 50th anniversary issue of the Community Health Forum Magazine offering reflections on the growth and development of health centers.
A Buzzfeed—a popular social news and entertainment website— list offered readers five great reasons to support and wish Community Health Centers a happy birthday.
NACHC also celebrated some of the people and health initiatives that make Community Health Centers unique through the blog. Some of our favorites from 2015 include:
- Fighting Illness and Hunger for 50 Years, about early programs focusing on fighting hunger.
- Working towards Equality in Healthcare, on fighting health disparities in minority health.
- Health Centers Help Save a Million Hearts, on how health centers are working to control hypertension among patients
- A Healer and Advocate in Colorado, about Virgilio Licona, M.D., longtime health center leader and recipient of the Samuel U. Rogers Award.
As we close out 2015, we also salute our health center leaders and friends around the country who have helped us celebrate the 50th Anniversary of health centers. We can’t wait to see what 2016 brings!