Michelle Cosley: Celebrating National Health Center Week with support | TheUnion.com

Michelle Cosley: Celebrating National Health Center Week with support

Other Voices
Michelle Cosley

Community health centers like Sierra Family Medical Center serve 25 million Americans nationwide in medically underserved areas.

Over the last 50 years, health centers have saved countless lives, reducing and preventing chronic disease.

Right now a crisis looms with the scheduled expiration of a fund at the end of September that will result in a significant cut to the budget of every health center. Congress must act swiftly and extend funding and fix this funding cliff.

Health centers provide patients with affordable options for care and have contributed significantly to savings for the American taxpayer, according to a 2016 study published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Health Centers have proven to be innovators in treating chronic disease and responding to national health crises, such as the opioid epidemic that kills 78 people in the U.S. every day. They are problem-solvers that look beyond medical charts to not only prevent illness but also address the factors that cause poor health, such as homelessness, lack of nutrition, stress or unemployment.

Sierra Family Medical Center is committed to treating the whole person by integrating comprehensive medical, dental and behavioral health care. It accepts Medi-Cal, Medicare, most private/commercial insurance, and has a sliding fee discount for those who qualify.

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This week leaders at the local, state and national levels join communities in celebration of National Health Center Week. Their visits to health centers demonstrate that not only is it possible to move beyond the partisan divide over health care, but also to agree on a health-care program vital to our communities and the nation.

Health centers bring a unique and important perspective to the national conversation on health care. Good health begins with primary care. Access to community health centers is a prescription for the good health of our nation.

Michelle Cosley sits on the board of directors for Sierra Family Medical Center.