2005-08-05 / Community

Addabbo FHC Honored In August

Each year, the second week of August is a special week dedicated to recognizing the service and contributions of Community Health Centers, including Rockaway’s own Joseph Addabbo Family Health Center.

This year America’s Health Centers mark a major anniversary – 40 years since the creation of the Health Centers program. By the end of FY 2006, the size of the health center program will have nearly doubled nationwide by adding a total of 1200 new health care delivery sites and expansions that will enable it to serve 16 million people annually, according to a spokesperson for the Addabbo Center.

The Proud Legacy of America’s Health Centers “A Model for Today – A Solution for Tomorrow” is the theme for National Health Center Week 2005. which speaks to the success of the health center program over the last 40 years and the role that Health Centers can play in providing access to health care for all Americans in the future.

What is a community health center?

Conceived as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society and originally called “Neighborhood Health Centers”, community health centers were first established in the 1960’s to meet the health needs of those with little or no ability to pay for medical care. In 1975, Congress enacted legislation to provide a statutory basis for federal funding of health centers. Centers that receive federal funding are termed Federally Qualified Community Health Centers (FQHC).

Community health centers are nonprofit health care practices located in medically underserved areas that provide high quality, cost-effective primary health care to anyone seeking care.

Today, 51 FQHC’s provide comprehensive, community-based, primary and preventive health care for over one million patients.

New York’s health centers are as varied as the communities they serve. Twenty-six of New York State’s 62 counties – rural and urban – are home to at least one health center. Health centers are located in most of the state’s major cities, in four of New York City’s five boroughs, and in small hamlets in Central New York and in the Adirondacks. Yet there are still areas of the state that are underserved. Twenty-nine counties have no health center, but have indications of medical underservice.

Several qualities distinguish FQHC’s from other medical providers:

Community Governance. At least 51 percent of the board members of an FQHC must be consumers of the health center’s services, ensuring patient involvement in service delivery.

Location in High Need Areas. An FQHC must be located in a medically underserved area of serve a medically underserved population.

Affordability. Fees are based on income and family size and services are provided regardless of ability to pay.

Guaranteed Access. Enabling services including transportation, case management and translators ensure access to care.

What services do community heath centers provide?

FQHC’s are staffed with exceptionally qualified physicians and support staff who provide a full range of primary and preventive care. Each health center is a not-for-profit organization that is governed by its own board, with services tailored to the community it serves.

Health centers are known for the comprehensive primary care services they provide, but have also gained widespread recognition for their ability to manage chronic disease.

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