Congressman Higgins Joins Northwest Buffalo Community Health Care Center to Celebrate National Health Center Week 2009
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) joined doctors, patients, nurses and staff at Northwest Buffalo Community Health Care Center to celebrate National Health Center Week 2009 (August 9-15, 2009).
The theme of the week, “Where Access and Quality Care Begin,” highlights health centers’ roles as “health care homes” for some 18 million people in America, providing primary and preventive care and a range of services. Northwest Buffalo Community Health Care Center serves 8800 patients in our community each year – a number that is increasing due to layoffs and cutbacks during the economic downturn. Health center patients pay on an income-based sliding fee scale; no one is turned away, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay.
“Everyone should have the choice of a Community Health Center as their health care home,” said Joanne Haefner, Executive Director of Northwest Buffalo Community Health Care Center. “We provide high-quality services that emphasize primary care and wellness so that families can stay healthy and out of hospitals.” National Health Center Week is a time to spread the message that we need to invest in an accessible and affordable community health system that can reduce disparities, improve health and achieve cost savings.”
“Community health centers, a critical first point of contact for both the insured and uninsured, have seen a 67% increase in patients since the year 2000, demonstrating a clear demand for the critical services provided at facilities like Northwest Buffalo Community Health Care Center” said Congressman Higgins. “This Community Health Center and others like it across the nation provide top quality care in a more affordable way by preventing costly emergency room visits and encouraging preventive services and care.”
Northwest Buffalo Community Health Care Center was recently awarded a $559,995 federal grant made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to address health care facility and equipment needs.
Long-term, health centers are envisioned as a major part of the solution for providing care to the 60 million people in the United States who are – according to a report by the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) – medically disenfranchised. A health center plan called ACCESS for All America has the goal of preserving, strengthening and expanding health centers, ultimately providing affordable, high-quality care to all medically underserved.
To celebrate National Health Center Week, Northwest Buffalo Community Health Care Center hosted a health and wellness fair on Wednesday, August 12, 2009, an open house and press conference on Friday, August 14 and will partnering with Fidelis Care for a community awareness event in the parking lot of the health center on Saturday, August 15 from 11 AM- 2 PM.
Opened in 1987, Northwest Buffalo Community Health Care Center operates as a Health Resources Services Administration-supported health center to serve those with limited financial resources and access to health care—regardless of ability to pay. The center provides both emergency and preventive care making it a vital institution in maintaining the wellness of Buffalo.
For more information, visit www.healthcenterweek.org.