Community health centers are vital to the state’s COVID-19 response and to caring for an increasing number of Texans without health insurance
AUSTIN, TX, August 07, 2020 /Neptune100/ — As community health centers across the country prepare to celebrate National Health Center Week (August 9-15), the Texas Association of Community Health Centers emphasizes CHCs’ vital role in the state’s ongoing COVID-19 response and in meeting the health care needs of a growing number of Texans without health insurance.
“Caring for more than 1.5 million Texans each year, community health centers are a vital part of the health care system,” said Jana Eubank, executive director, Texas Association of Community Health Centers. “When COVID-19 struck, CHCs quickly implemented new practices, including walk-up or drive-up diagnostic testing, telehealth, and remote patient monitoring to ensure that every patient, no matter their need or condition, could get needed care.”
Texas’ 73 federally qualified health centers operate in every corner of the state, serving children, adults, and the elderly in 132 counties. The services provided include primary and preventive health care, mental health, substance use treatment, dental and vision care, and pharmacy. Care is provided regardless of a patient’s ability to pay, and the largest proportion (41 percent) of CHCs’ patients have no health insurance.
They are economic engines, often serving as a community’s largest employer, and have largely avoided layoffs during the current economic downturn, providing economic stability for vulnerable neighborhoods.
“As we celebrate the accomplishments and positive impact of Texas’ CHCs this week, we also must remember that their continued ability to serve all Texans depends on Congressional action to extend the Community Health Center Fund,” said Eubank. “A five-year extension of the Community Health Center Fund is absolutely critical for CHCs to continue their COVID-19 work, including testing and tracing, and their work to help vulnerable and uninsured Texans achieve and maintain good health. This is no time to lose such vital funding or such an important component of the health care system.”
The Community Health Center Fund has supported expansion of the CHC network in Texas and ability to serve more patients. Between 2010 and 2018, the number of CHC care sites increased 63 percent and the number of patients served by 58 percent. Without Congressional action, the Fund expires Nov. 30, 2020.
Formed in 1983, the Texas Association of Community Health Centers, Inc. (TACHC) is a private, non-profit membership association that represents Texas safety-net health care providers. TACHC is the federally designated primary care association for the state and is the link between federal, state and local entities providing health care for Texas’ most vulnerable populations. TACHC members include community health centers, federally designated migrant, public housing and homeless health care centers, health center networks and other providers who strive to meet the health care needs of the uninsured and underserved. Members operate in urban, rural and frontier areas of Texas with annual budgets ranging from $600,000 to over $50 million. TACHC’s services assist members in providing high quality health care and addressing specific needs of administrators, clinicians, boards of directors, outreach workers and other center staff. TACHC offers a wide variety of services targeted specifically toward the needs of Texas health centers in policy & advocacy, administration, information technology and clinical care. www.tachc.org.