Celebrating the Value of Community Health Centers
Every year in early August the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) leads National Health Center Week (NHCW), a campaign celebrating the essential contributions that Community Health Centers (CHCs) make to local communities across the U.S. CHCs are community-based and patient-directed organizations that deliver comprehensive, culturally competent, high-quality primary health care services to vulnerable individuals and families.
Zufall Health is proud to be a CHC! Annually, our nation’s 1400-plus CHCs serve an impressive 30 million-plus patients – including one in 12 adults and one in nine children. Trusted resources in their communities, CHCs have been especially vital during the COVID-19 pandemic.
NHCW’s official hashtag, #ValueCHCs, underscores the importance of making high-quality health care services available to everyone. CHCs remove barriers to health care like cost, transportation, language, and health insurance, resulting in greater utilization of preventive care, better chronic disease management, reduced health disparities among marginalized groups, and improved health outcomes. CHCs are economically beneficial, too. There were more than 255,000 people employed by CHCs nationally as of 2020, and the cumulative gains to local economies are well-documented. CHCs also generate $24 million in savings to the US health care system annually by eliminating unnecessary ER and hospital visits.
Earlier this month, Zufall recognized NHCW with a series community events, at which we provided services like dental screenings, COVID vaccinations, back-to-school physicals, and health insurance resources. Our flagship NHCW event took place at Hillcrest Elementary School in Franklin Township, where we provided school-based health services, on Thursday, August 11. Hundreds of children and families attended to receive back-to-school wellness exams, backpacks and school supplies, and fresh produce. Notable guests included Franklin Township Mayor Phillip Kramer, Franklin Township Public Schools Superintendent Dr. John A. Ravally, Franklin Township Public Schools Director of Pupil Personnel Services Dr. Brenda Sofield, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (NJ) staffer Jeremy Julis, and members of the New Jersey Primary Care Association. Local reporter PJ Parker of the Franklin Reporter and Advocate interviewed Zufall President and Chief Executive Officer Eva Turbiner, Foundation Director Shade Cronan, and Ravally. A recording of their interview is available in English here.
We thank our outreach staff, providers, patients, and community partners who made this NHCW a successful and memorable one for Zufall. While NHCW is over for now, every day is a good one to celebrate the value of CHCs.