Week Spotlights Community Health Centers Removing Barriers to Care
Wednesday, August 9, 2023
Events across the country are marking this as National Health Center Week, including in Oregon.
Community health centers provide affordable health care options to one-in-11 Americans, regardless of their ability to pay. In 2022, health centers served a record 31.5 million people. Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center operates in Yamhill and Washington counties and emphasizes care for seasonal and migrant workers in the area.
Kasi Woidyla, director of communications, advocacy and government relations for the center, said health centers act as central hubs for information and support.
"A community health center isn't just about health care," Woidyla pointed out. "It's about the whole person, and ensuring that people who have barriers or are not able to access all of the things that make a person healthy; that they're able to do that."
Woidyla noted Virginia Garcia has five clinics and each is inviting people to events to celebrate National Health Center Week. The 15,000 community health center locations across the country are critical, especially for lower-income or underinsured people, who make up 90% of the patients they serve.
However, health centers are facing a financial cliff. Funding in Congress needs to be reauthorized by Sept. 30. Woidyla stressed centers would have to cut services drastically if that does not happen.
"Without it, there would be a huge gap between the care that our community needs and what we could provide," Woidyla contended
The Community Health Center Fund provides about 70% of the federal money going to community health centers.
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