By: Beau Boughamer
The back-to-back snowstorms that have largely paralyzed the nation’s capital have disrupted the routine at NACHC as well! So it’s been a few days since our last update. But we didn’t want you to miss these great health center news stories.
Modern Healthcare drew attention to a letter sent by 175 organizations — including NACHC — to President Obama and Congress that emphasized the importance of comprehensive health reform. (Read the press release here.)
“We believe key elements included in both the House and Senate bills would represent a new direction for America’s healthcare and public health systems,” according to the letter, which was signed by healthcare and family advocacy groups, state health departments, infectious-disease prevention organizations and medical organizations. In particular, the groups urged lawmakers’ continued support for the establishment of “a dedicated funding mechanism” for prevention and public health.
“The increased investment called for in the president’s FY 2011 budget proposal will allow 126 new community health centers that received funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to continue to deliver care to the 1 million patients they began to serve immediately upon opening their doors,” Tom Van Coverden, president and CEO of the National Association of Community Health Centers, said in a written statement. And a new report released last week in the journal Health Affairs supports Van Coverden’s comments.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Massachusetts grants were designed to either create or retain 245 jobs. So far, the centers are on track.The League of Massachusetts Community Health Centers said 231 full-time equivalent positions have been created or retained at federally funded centers. The goal, according to federal government documents, is for the funding to support centers that cater to underserved populations. For instance, Brockton Neighborhood Health Center has recently hired 20 workers, following an infusion of $303,248.
The new clinic’s 19,000 square feet will have space for 20 medical exam rooms, a pharmacy larger than the one in the current clinic, and conference rooms for diabetes and nutrition group meetings. In addition, a dental clinic now operating at 2722 Colby Ave. will be moved to the new building on Broadway. The project had been talked about for a number of years. Last year, the organization was told that the building project would qualify for $1.35 million in federal economic stimulus money.
Newsroom Jersey mentioned Community Health Centers in a National Dental Access Day write-up.
In New Jersey, 52 of the state’s 95 community health center sites offer free or low-cost dental care in addition to their health care services. More health centers will begin offering dental services this year. Find a nearby community health center by visiting the health center page on the DHSS web site at: http://www.nj.gov/health/fhs/cphc/index.shtmlhttp://www.nj.gov/health/fhs/cphc/index.shtml.
Separately, WOWT-TV highlighted a National Dental Access Day event held at OneWorld Community Health Center in Omaha.
OneWorld Community Health Centers hosted “Give Kids A Smile,” opening up their clinic at 30th and L streets and offering free dental care to uninsured kids up to 12 years old.
“The need is huge,” said Andrea Skolkin with OneWorld Health Center. “I think people would be surprised if they looked around and saw some of the kids in our school system that are walking around with pain and toothaches.”
Dr. Paul Beutler is one of the 17 volunteers who undertook the 140 appointments made Saturday. “Usually we see kids that have a few cavities. Today we’ve seen kids with every tooth in their mouth has a dark spot and they’ve been in pain, they have swollen gums.”
After a few hours in the dentist chair, it was a clean bill of health, which brought a smile to not only patient, but mom, too. “To know he is fine makes my day,” said Mejia.
The OneWorld Community Health Center Clinic is open during the week. Fees are determined by a sliding scale based on income. Organizers said based on Saturday’s turnout, they will consider having other free clinic days later this year.