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Rep. Perlmutter Recognized as 2014 Distinguished Advocate by the National Association of Community Health Centers
The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) today recognized U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) as their 2014 Distinguished Advocate for his ongoing support for health centers and their role in preserving and expanding access to high-quality cost-effective care.
“Community Health Centers are a lifeline for many of my constituents,” said Rep. Perlmutter. “These facilities are invaluable assets, and make a significant difference in the individual lives and communities they serve. We must continue supporting Community Health Centers to ensure existing and new patients can continue to access the care they need.”
The Affordable Care Act established the Community Health Center fund which provided $11 billion over a five year period for the operation, expansion and construction of health centers throughout the nation. Since 2002, health centers have expanded health care access from 11 million patients to 22 million patients. Currently, more than 1,200 locally-controlled health centers operate in 9,000 urban and rural underserved communities nationwide.
Health centers provide primary care, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy and a variety of support services, and help prevent individuals from having to visit the emergency room or use more expensive services. In turn, this helps to save taxpayer dollars and make our health care system more efficient. In fact, health centers save more than $1,200 per patient annually in total health care costs by coordinating and managing care, producing $24 billion in annual health system savings.
Without action by Congress, the Community Health Center fund is set to expire in September 2015, which would reduce health centers’ federal funding by 60-7%. This potential reduction in federal funding could result in the closure of health center sites, layoffs of providers and staff, and a loss of preventive care for millions of patients who often have no other place to turn.
Today’s award ceremony included a tour of Clinica Family Health Services, a Community Health Center with five locations across Colorado, three of which are located in the 7th Congressional District. Since 1977, Clinica has provided comprehensive primary care to the low-income, uninsured residents of south Boulder, Broomfield, and west Adams counties. In 2014, Clinica served 44,632 unique patients. Ninety-three percent were living at or below 200% of the federal poverty level, 2,865 were homeless, and 40% were under 18 years of age.
For the past 40 years, NACHA has worked to support America’s health centers and provide primary care to low-income, uninsured residents. From securing resources for these centers to promoting how they are able to help people, NACHA educates our communities about need for these centers and the invaluable services they provide, including improving access to primary and preventive card, obtaining more cost-effective and higher quality care, effective management of chronic illness, improved birth outcomes, and creates local jobs.