by Annie Neasman, President/CEO of the Jessie Trice Community Health Center, Inc.
There is a lot of confusion and misinformation about how the world of health care is changing around us. The good news is that more people are gaining access to insurance coverage, but the bad news is that there are still 62 million people who do not have access to primary care. According to the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), people from all walks of life are affected. Nearly half (42 percent) are low-income and 28 percent live in rural areas—and, surprisingly, the vast majority of those affected do have an insurance card.
This year, National Health Center Week is recognized from August 10 – 16th. The Jessie Trice Community Health Center, Inc., as well as others throughout south Florida and the nation, will take part in a weeklong celebration to raise awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s Health Centers as local solutions for affordable and accessible health care.
One of the bright spots in America’s health care system, Community Health Centers have traditionally drawn praise from bipartisan Members of Congress, as well as the White House. The Community Health Center safety net serves over 22 million people across the country and has been successful in:
• Reducing income and ethnic health disparities nationwide, even in the poorest and most challenged communities
• Producing $24 billion in annual health system savings
• Reducing unnecessary hospitalizations and unnecessary visits to the ER
• Generating a system of preventive medicine that patients use regularly to stay healthy, thus saving lives.
People need both insurance coverage and access to care. Luckily, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provided resources to double the size of Community Health Centers over five years to ensure their capacity can meet the demand for care now and in the future. Today, health centers serve over 22 million people nationwide. They provide high quality care and save the health care system $24 billion a year from reduced hospitalizations and visits to the ER. However, ACA funding is scheduled to run out by the end of 2015 and health centers face a reduction of up to 70 percent in grant funding. Such a shortfall could be disastrous in our community. Many South Floridians, who typically receive care from quality centers like the Jessie Trice Community Health Center, will be limited in their ability to make doctor’s appointments. These patients will end up using hospital emergency rooms for care – lengthening the already long wait time to receive medical attention. This would be the scenario playing out in medically underserved communities all over America.
Loss of funding will also affect the National Health Service Corps and Teaching Health Center programs that are focused on growing the supply of primary care providers as demand for care ramps up. Congress must act now to address this problem before it undermines stability and sustainability of our health care system and reverses the critical progress our nation has made toward opening access and strengthening primary care and prevention.
Fortunately, the solution is not only simple, but foolproof. Health centers are a proven model that has delivered multiple returns on the federal investment for the past 50 years—better access, cost-savings, and even jobs. This is a prescription that we as a nation cannot afford to squander. But don’t take my word for it –visit a health center near you and see for yourself how we work to keep communities healthy and out of the hospital ER.
Presented by the Opa-locka Development Corporation
On Tuesday, May 6th, the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation (OLCDC) hosted their first COOKING MATTERS Grocery Story Food Tour. The OLCDC invited residents to participate in a guided grocery story tour to help families get educated on how to buy healthy, affordable foods.
The guided food tour, presented by Flipany was held at Winn Dixie Super Market in Miami Gardens. Flipany’s mission is to empower youth and their families through physical activity and nutrition education programs while raising awareness and creating policies for a healthier community.
Through the COOKING MATTERS tour attendees were able to learn what foods were healthy to purchase, how to read food labels, how to identify whole grains and how to be strategic about doing their groceries all while sticking to a budget. After the tour they each received a free workbook full of tasty recipes and simple tips on buying healthy, low-cost foods, a free reusable grocery bag and free calculator to keep handy when doing their shopping.
The COOKING MATTERS tour is part of the OLCDC’s ongoing efforts to revive the city of Opa-locka and educate their residents and make sure no child goes hungry. The OLCDC plans to host another food tour in the fall.
Door prizes … music … and fun for the whole family! All of this and more will be offered at theJessie Trice Community Health Center’s (JTCHC) Grand Opening Celebration for its new Miami Gardens facility. Join JTCHC on Saturday, May 17, 2014 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Miami Gardens location – 4692 NW 183rd Street – for a fun-filled day. The event is free and open to the public.
“This is a family fun event for which you can bring the whole family,” said Annie R. Neasman, RN, MS, President and CEO of the Jessie Trice Community Health Center. “Not only will you meet members of the medical team and staff, but you will also learn how to live a healthy lifestyle in a fun way.”
Highlights of the event will include learning about (and signing up for) the available insurance plans, participating in health screenings, enjoying healthy snacks and treats, games and activities for the kids, and much more!
The Jessie Trice Community Health Center, Inc. is a Florida 501 (c) 3, not-for-profit, Federally Qualified Health Center, which has been serving Miami-Dade County since 1967. Its mission is to provide comprehensive primary health care services by increasing access and improving the quality of life of our diverse South Florida community. A community mainstay, JTCHC owns and operates sixteen (16) facilities, including eight (8) Comprehensive Primary Care centers, twenty-five (25) school-based/university centers, and other medical facilities. JTCHC’s multicultural, multilingual, and multidisciplinary staff services a diverse population of 30,000 patients who make more than 130,000 visits annually. For more information on the Jessie Trice Community Health Center, visit www.jtchc.org.
With the average weight of the American population climbing every day, childhood obesity has become a dangerous and widespread health concern affecting families across the country. According to the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force (USPTF), 12-18 percent of U.S. children ages 2-19 are obese. What’s more, enough food is supplied in the U.S. to provide every person in the country with a daily caloric intake of 3,800, far beyond what is recommended—let alone healthy—for the average American. So it’s no wonder that obesity rates in children are increasing in significant numbers.While genetic factors do play some part in 70-80 percent of obesity cases, poor lifestyle choices are among the biggest contributing factors to why people of all ages become overweight.