National Health Center Week is part of a national campaign to increase awareness of the ways health centers are providing affordable health care in communities. This year, health centers celebrate the ways they are “Rooted in Communities”. They are an American success story – saving lives and stimulating local economies. They are locally-run yet part of a national network that serves 1-in-12 Americans, or 28 million people. They save American taxpayers $24 billion a year in health care costs by preventing and managing chronic diseases in medically vulnerable communities.
Health Centers are not ordinary medical clinics; they are problem-solvers at the forefront of a nationwide shift in addressing environmental and social factors as an integral part of primary care. They reach beyond the exam room to address the factors that may cause sickness – environmental factors such as lack of health education, poverty, homelessness, substance use, mental illness, lack of nutrition, unemployment and stress.
MEHOP is your local Health Center in Matagorda and Wharton Counties. In 2018 MEHOP provided care to 9,869 patients; 27 percent Medicaid, 10 percent Medicare, 37 percent private/employer-based insurance and 26 percent uninsured. MEHOP clinics include family doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners with extended hours during the week and on weekends, women’s health, pediatrics, family dental, ophthalmology and behavioral health (counseling and psychiatry) services. In addition to direct patient care, MEHOP offers services such as prescription assistance programs, free transportation to MEHOP appointments and enrollment assistance for Medicaid and the health insurance marketplace. When needed, case managers work to assist patients who need help beyond the services of MEHOP through their community partnerships.
Community health centers are proven models of health care and deserve sustained support from their community and our leaders in Congress.
Highlights of health center accomplishments include:
• Reducing unnecessary hospitalizations and unnecessary visits to the emergency room;
• Treating patients for a fraction of the average cost of one emergency room visit;
• Serving more than one in six Medicaid beneficiaries for less than two percent of the national Medicaid budget;
• Lowering the cost of children’s primary care by approximately 35 percent; and;
• Serving over 355,000 veterans throughout the country.
As part of National Health Center Week 2019 (Aug. 4-10), MEHOP invites you to visit their Community Health Center locations in Bay City and Wharton and see firsthand why local health centers are the best prescription for good community health.