U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders Addresses Health Center Advocates, National Health Center Week 2016 Kicks Off with Presidential Proclamation

Monday SCREENINGS (6)National Health Center Week 2016 (August 7-13th)  kicked off this week with a teleforum featuring Senator Bernie Sanders and Health Resources and Services Administration Acting Administrator Jim Macrae. During remarks to Community Health Center leaders, Sen. Sanders underscored his longtime support of health centers and called for Congress to double funding of the program for a “massive expansion.”  “We have got to focus on making primary care available to all people as a right,” said Sanders, comparing the cost-effective care of health centers to hospital emergency rooms, where care is far more expensive.

Acting Administrator Macrae used the teleforum to showcase the growth and accomplishments of health centers, with 1.5 million new patients added in the last year, including 100 new centers, and a six percent growth in veterans receiving care. The teleforum came on the heels of a Proclamation issued by President Barack Obama, officially proclaiming this week as National Health Center Week 2016 (NHCW)

“During National Health Center Week, we reflect on the important role that health centers have played in delivering the comprehensive care all people deserve. With a strong focus on community-based and patient-centered care, health centers offer more than just treatment for illnesses and injuries; through an emphasis on education and prevention, they promote wellness and help people lead healthier lives.”

The theme of NHCW is “Celebrating America’s Health Centers: Innovators in Community Health,” with each day focusing on the areas of special focus for health centers, including workforce development, prevention through health screenings, protecting public health, creating healthier communities near public housing, caring for agricultural workers and the homeless, and providing enabling services in addition to primary care.

Health centers not only prevent illness and foster wellness in the most challenging populations, they produce innovative solutions to the most pressing healthcare issues in their communities. They reach beyond the walls of conventional medicine to address the factors that may cause sickness, such as lack of nutrition, mental illness, homelessness and addiction. Because of their long record of success in innovation, managing healthcare costs, and reducing chronic disease, leaders in Congress have declared health centers a model of care that offers a “bipartisan solution to the primary care access problems” facing our nation.

There are 1,400 NHCW events scheduled across the country, including health fairs, visits by Members of Congress and state officials to local health centers, press conferences, back-to-school drives, community breakfasts, patient appreciation events, free health screenings and dental cleanings, and much more.

To learn more about NHCW and the listing of events please visit: www.healthcenterweek.org.

You can also follow the conversation using #NHCW16 or #CHCsInnovate on Twitter.