Washington's 27 health centers are celebrating National Health Center week by hosting a number of events for the communities they serve. From a health and resource fair in Omak, to providing meals, hygiene kits and medical services in Des Moines, to breaking ground on a new medical and dental clinic in Colville, to supporting voter registration in Bellingham - and much more! View the nearly 60 events taking place in Washington here.
National Health Center Week, hosted by the National Association for Community Health Centers, is an opportunity to celebrate health centers across the country who serve 31.5 million patients in 15,000 locations. In Washington, our health centers serve 1.2 million people at more than 440 clinic locations with comprehensive primary, preventative medical, dental, and behavioral health care. They are community-rooted, governed by patient-majority boards and offering affordable care to anyone regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. Health centers consider the whole person when providing care - asking questions that identify needs beyond medical care, connecting individuals to community partners who can meet those needs, and offering services like transportation and language assistance that increase access to care.
President Biden marked NHCW by issuing a Presidential Proclamation noting health centers’ remarkable record of success in, “tackling health disparities in underserved communities,” underscoring his Administration’s support for doubling the size and expanding the reach of health centers.
NHCW comes as health centers navigate financial uncertainty. A funding extension for health centers expires on September 30th and will result in a 70 percent cut in federal funding if another extension is not authorized. Health centers already operate on thin financial margins and require sustained and reliable funding to recruit workforce and plan essential primary care services to meet the demand for care, such as behavioral health, dental, vaccinations, and routine preventive services that divert the chronically ill from costly hospital emergency room visits.
This week offers an opportunity for Congressional members from both sides of the aisle to visit a health center in their local districts to better understand the urgent need for continued resources. We are grateful to the members of Washington's Congressional delegation who have already visited health centers this year and those who are visiting during the recess. We encourage continued support for the federal funding that is critical to providing our communities with quality, comprehensive, affordable primary care.
Read more about National Health Center Week and these asks here.