Community Health Centers: America’s Health Safety Net
A rising demand for care offered by community health centers, coupled with the growing physician shortage, will place considerable pressure on these clinics, which must be equipped to provide vital, high-quality care to some of the nation’s most vulnerable populations. Even as the number of people that community clinics serve surges, the shortage of primary care physicians in the United States is projected to rise to 62,900 by 2015 and will exceed 100,000 by 2025, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
“Community health centers are on the front lines of care in South Florida and the U.S., and they are in dire need of reinforcements,” said Robert Schwartz, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine. “Through collaborations like the United Health Foundation Community Health Centers of Excellence, these clinics are benefitting from critical funding and on-the-ground support to meet the unique needs of patients in their communities, helping them continue to deliver the high-quality care on which their patients depend.”
Since 2003, United Health Foundation has committed more than $34 million in funding and provided technical support to four community health centers in vulnerable areas across the country, including Miami’s Jefferson Reaves, Sr. Health Center. The other clinics are: Daughters of Charity Health Center-St. Cecilia in New Orleans; South Bronx Health Center for Children & Families in New York (with the Children’s Health Fund); and Unity Health Care’s Congress Heights/Anacostia Health Center in Washington, D.C. The Foundation selected the centers based on the high prevalence of health issues linked to known racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities, including obesity and diabetes.About United Health FoundationGuided by a passion to help people live healthier lives, United Health Foundation provides helpful information to support decisions that lead to better health outcomes and healthier communities. The Foundation also supports activities that expand access to quality health care services for those in challenging circumstances and partners with others to improve the well-being of communities. After its establishment by UnitedHealth Group [NYSE: UNH] in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation, the Foundation has committed more than $200 million to improve health and health care. For additional information, please visit www.unitedhealthfoundation.org.