History of Health Centers | NHCW 2020

Health Centers began as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society Program in 1966 and were first known as ‘neighborhood’ health centers. The program was developed to provide access to affordable, high-quality preventive and primary care in medically underserved communities and for underserved populations, including millions of individuals without health insurance. The Health Center program was permanently authorized under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), signed into law March 2010.

Health Centers have a proud history of bi-partisan support. President George W. Bush championed the ‘Presidential Five-Year Initiative to Expand Health Centers’ (2002-2006), effectively doubling the size of the program. Under President Barack Obama’s Administration, the Health Center program continued to experience unprecedented growth. Health Centers were the only health care providers to receive direct funding in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which granted $2 billion to construct and expand Health Centers. The next year, the ACA was signed into law mandating $11 billion in new Health Center funding over five years (2011-2015). In April 2015, Congress passed legislation to continue Health Center funding for an additional two-years, reflective at the amount of additional annual funding received through the ACA.

We are proud of our roots and so thankful to every one of our patients we have the privilege to serve.

Addressing Social Determinants of Health – NHCW Public Health in Housing Day

In today’s value-based care environment, organizations are accountable for improving health outcomes and lowering costs. To achieve these goals and succeed in such an environment, organizations need to better understand their patients to address both their clinical and non-clinical needs and impact the root causes of health, including patients’ health behaviors, health outcomes, and health costs. The social determinants of health (SDH) are the conditions in which people live, work, play and age. They can encompass socioeconomic conditions, environmental conditions, institutional power, and social networks. Understanding patients’ social determinants will allow health centers to transform care with integrated services to meet the needs of their patients, address the social determinants of health, and demonstrate the value the bring to patients, communities and payers.

At CHAS Health, our Patient Services Coordinators work with patients to help address social determinants of health through many different avenues. In addition, we work hard with our community partners to help ensure no one falls through the cracks and has access to the services they need.

Learn about working in at CHAS Health as a Patient Services Coordinator with Stephanie:

National Health Center Week

In commemoration of National Health Center Week, CHAS Health is excited to celebrate being “Rooted in Communities.” This is a National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) campaign which emphasizes the fact that plants, people, and communities are not so different from one another in their needs—we all require basic resources to grow.

National Health Center Week (August 4th-10th) is an annual celebration with the goal of raising awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s health centers over the past five decades. This week we’ll be joining Community Health Centers across the country to highlight the important work to make our communities healthier and happier.

Community Health Centers provide innovative health service delivery to more than 28 million patients! Learn more at nachc.org

Celebrating Health Centers: Home of America’s Health Care Heroes

National Health Center Week (August 12th- 18th) is an annual celebration with the goal of raising awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s health centers over the past five decades.

Health centers serve 27 million patients a number that continues to grow along with the demand for affordable primary care. In addition to their long history as health care homes to millions, health centers produce innovative solutions to the most pressing health care issues in their communities and reach beyond the walls of conventional medicine to address the social determinants of health affecting special patient populations.

This year, the National Association of Community Health Centers and the Health Center Advocacy Network invites you to celebrate the incredible health care heroes– individuals who live and breathe the health center mission and exceed the call of duty to support health centers in providing quality health care for patients in the community.

At CHAS Health, we are celebrating by hosting 2 community celebrations! Open House at Cheney Health Center and Ribbon Cutting and Reception at our BRAND NEW East Mission Dental Clinic. Join us August 15th and 16th! Both events will feature a lot of fun and FREE food!

National Health Center Week: Aug 9-15

download

This year’s National Health Center Week theme is Celebrating Our Legacy, Shaping Our Future. The theme is timely, as Community Health Centers across the nation are celebrating the program’s 50th anniversary. Each year health centers celebrate National Health Center Week to recognize the important work accomplished in communities where patient-led organizations are continually removing barriers to primary and preventive care.

CHAS is one of more than 1,300 Community Health Centers. Founded in 1994 in response to demand for healthcare services for low income and uninsured individuals in Spokane, Washington, CHAS has grown steadily from a small Health Care for the Homeless clinic to its current configuration of 11 health center sites serving more than 55,000 patients throughout Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho.

A look back at recent CHAS accomplishments provides a glimpse of how our organization is helping to shape the future of primary health care access in our community:

  • In May 2013 the American Pharmacists Association Foundation recognized CHAS nationally with the Pinnacle Award for CHAS’s pharmacist-medical team integration that has resulted in safer and more effective medication use for patients.
  • CHAS opened a clinic in Moscow, Idaho – Latah Community Health – in June 2013. Primary medical, behavioral health, and pharmacy services are provided at this site where 55% of patients are uninsured.
  • Since the state health insurance Marketplaces opened in October 2013, CHAS in-person assistors have helped enroll more than 27,000 individuals. Even with increased insurance coverage, during CY2014 CHAS provided more than 12,000 uninsured patients access to over 26,000 visits.
  • In August 2014 CHAS received a competitive patient-centered medical home capital grant to renovate CHAS’s Denny Murphy Clinic in downtown Spokane. This site serves as the home base for CHAS’s homeless outreach program. Modernizing the space to increase provider collaboration will lead to improved patient outcomes for Spokane’s most vulnerable residents.
  • CHAS’s approach to effectively integrate behavioral health services in the primary medical setting was recognized through a competitive national grant award in July 2014.
  • CHAS was recognized by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration in December 2014 as a “National Quality Leader”. This prestigious recognition was only designated to 57 health center organizations out of more than 1,300 health centers nationally. National Quality Leader health centers are the highest performers compared with national standards and benchmarks in key clinical areas.
  • In March 2015 CHAS opened a new site – Perry Street Clinic – in Spokane’s East Central neighborhood. During the first year of operation, the clinic is projected to provide over 14,000 encounters for more than 4,600 patients.

Looking back at these highlights, each accomplishment demonstrates how CHAS continues to implement the organization’s mission: to improve the overall health of the communities we serve by expanding access to quality health and wellness services. Over the past 50 years health centers like CHAS have been increasing access to affordable, high-quality, cost effective health care to medically vulnerable and underserved people throughout the United States. Like CHAS’s recent award and grant recognitions, our nation continues to recognize the invaluable contributions of the health center program. In April 2015 Congress passed bi-partisan legislation extending funding for Community Health Centers for the next two years. Politicians may be divided over our nation’s health care system, but they are united in support for health centers.

Community Health Association of Spokane Valley Clinic

Community Health Association of Spokane Valley Clinic

When I think of health centers, so many words come to mind: access, quality, advocacy, passion, patient-centered. I can’t sum up health centers’ legacy in just one word. Reflecting on the health center movement, it is clear that health centers have always been so much more than a doctor’s office. Yes, our patients receive medical care. But patients also get help enrolling in health insurance; they are given a bus ticket if they need help getting to their appointment; they are connected with community partners for food, clothing and housing assistance; we provide translations services; our amazing outreach workers walk outside in all weather conditions to connect with patients who don’t have a place to call home. I think the health center legacy is that we don’t just treat our patients, we fight for them. We fight for their right to access high-quality health care. We fight for continued funding for the health center program so that we can continue to see our existing patients and expand access to new patients. Regardless of a patient’s background or insurance status, we will continue to do everything we can to provide whole-person health care. What an amazing legacy to be a part of.

As we celebrate National Health Center Week 2015, I offer a humble ‘thank you’ to everyone – patients, volunteer board members, providers, advocates, elected officials – who has been part of this legacy. Here’s to the next 50 years.

– Lindsey Ruivivar, CHAS Public Policy and Development Manager