August 11-17, 2013 is National Health Center Week! The 1159 community clinics that provide medical services, mainly to the poor and uninsured, recently received an influx of Federal funding. This funding bolsters efforts to enroll nearly 4 million uninsured Americans in some form of health coverage, during the initial enrollment period beginning October 1, 2013. The role of health centers’ staff in counseling, qualifying and enrolling potential new insurees can not be overstated. They are trusted community partners who already have the ear of the more than 21 million people a year. Those numbers are expected to climb in the decades to follow.
Despite the much-needed monies for enrollment, health centers are struggling to provide services at current levels, following the March, 2013 sequester. They are also facing increased competition for those future newly insured. It is true that many people prefer the convenience of community-based care, despite sometimes long wait times to get it. That wait may increase noticeably as more people access centers’ services. It is entirely possible that if quality of services declines, patients will go elsewhere for their care…because soon they can. Offsetting all the funding issues while providing quality services depends heavily on numbers. How many will actually buy coverage through health exchanges and government subsidies? Which states will opt to expand their Medicaid programs?
Despite those unanswered questions, the community health center model will likely be strengthened as ACA’s full potential is realized. It is important to remember that community health centers are a source of economic growth in low income communities, in addition to supplying primary and preventive care. Nationwide, they employ close to 150,000 healthcare professionals and auxiliary staff. Want to serve your community and feel good about it, then perhaps working at a health center is for you. Whether a health center or another environment is best suited to your talents, Centra can help you achieve your “dream job”. Call us today at 800 535 0076 and see how!