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Health care is changing

Dear Editor,

We are hearing a lot in the news about how health care is changing, and not necessarily for the better.  There is one bright spot in health care that has been around for more than 50 years, and the only way it’s changing is that it’s getting bigger and better: Community Health Centers.

Health centers are part of a national network that is the family doctor to more than 27 million Americans.  They are proven innovators and problem-solvers in treating chronic disease.  They save money and countless lives because they don’t just prevent illness, they look beyond medical charts to address the factors that actually cause poor health, such as homelessness, substance use, mental illness, lack of nutrition, stress, and unemployment.

Health centers are also on the front lines dealing with complex issues: substance use disorders, including opioid addiction, low birth weights among newborns, hypertension and obesity in economically challenged neighborhoods – health conditions that, if left unchecked, end up in hospital emergency rooms for costly treatment.  They provide a wide range of primary care services in one location to make it easy for patients, including pharmacy, dental, geriatric or pediatric care, and even counseling.

Health centers are a program with longtime bipartisan support and depend on Washington for some of their funding, but their focus is local.  Whether you are a veteran, a senior, unemployed, insured or not, you can get affordable primary care when you walk through their doors.  To find out more about what they do, visit a local health center in your neighborhood during National Health Center Week (August 12-18).

If there are any questions, feel free to contact Keshee Dozier-Smith, CEO of Rural Health Medical Program, your local community health center(s) covering Dallas, Monroe, Wilcox, Perry and Marengo counties at (334) 874-7428 or via email smithk@rhmpi.com.

Keshee Dozier-Smith

CEO of Rural Health Medical Program

Selma