Health Center News, Uncategorized

Reflections on National Health Center Week 2010

By Amy Simmons

One of the things I like most about my job is I get to visit a Community Health Center where, very often, one finds a lot of remarkable people under one roof.  For National Health Center Week (NHCW) 2010, I was fortunate to visit Piedmont Health Services in Carrboro, NC.    There are lots of dedicated and smart professionals working at Piedmont, and they sure know how to put on an outstanding NHCW week event to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

U.S. Rep. David Price, who always makes it a practice to visit a health center or two in his district during the August recess, was among the VIPs in attendance.  The Congressman, introduced by President and CEO Brian Toomey, spoke briefly to attendees about health care reform and the mission of health centers (I should also note that earlier in the week he visited Lincoln Community Health Center in Durham).

He also read several “Reach Out and Read” books to an enthusiastic crowd of kids, who raised their hands and asked questions.   Afterward, there was a great buffet feast, face painting and a clown to ham it up with the kids.  Rep. Price also met with Piedmont’s staff to learn more about how the center is using electronic medical records to measure and improve its quality of care.   Repeatedly, the Congressman was thanked for his courageous vote in support of the Affordable Care Act.

Benjamin Money, the Executive Director of the North Carolina Community Health Center Association (NCCHCA) told the Congressman that the new law will make a positive impact to the state, where more than 1.75 million North Carolinians are uninsured, and their ranks are growing because of the recession. NCCHCA’s web site is a great resource for facts and figures on health centers, by the way.

Other Highlights Worth Noting: I should also point out some other stand-out NHCW happenings in other states.  For instance, this great letter to the editor published in Ohio’s Marion Star by  the Center Street Community Health Center.   And U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s visit to Third Street Family Health Services in Mansfield, Ohio. And way down south in Bastrop, LA,  Morehouse Community Medical Center gave out free blood pressure and blood sugar tests, drawing local coverage from the Bastrop Daily Enterprise. And in Boydton, VA, Healthcare on the Square held an open house in celebration of NHCW to mark its 25th birthday — check out the local coverage. There are so many more great NHCW events to write about, so keep sending your news our way!