Union Community Care celebrated National Health Center Week with visits by local elected leaders.

Organized by the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), National Health Center Week was held Aug. 7 to 13. NACHC says the recognition week raised awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s health centers over the past five decades.

Organizers said there was a particular focus with this year’s National Health Center Week on honoring those the healthcare workers and patients who have lost their lives from COVID-19. As has been documented elsewhere, the pandemic put immense strain on the nationwide “safety net” that community health centers represent.

Community health centers work with medically unserved populations and rely on federal funding from the Department of Health and Human Services. Although federal funding for community health centers has grown about 250% over the past decade, according to the Washington Post, and some health centers command profit margins exceeding 25%, community health centers overall record annual surpluses of only 5% on average.

Community health centers now face growing financial headwinds as they navigate a transitional time with COVID-19 related programs coming to an end, as well as the struggles of hiring and maintaining a workforce that are all-too-familiar for the healthcare industry these days.

A spokesperson for Union Community Care said that the visits by local leaders last week were done in recognization of the the work community health centers do to increase equity through patient-led healthcare that “welcomes and strengthens communities by integrating body, mind, and heart.”

State Rep. Frank Ryan dropped by Union Community Care’s Lebanon location, 920 Church St., for a photo with workers there. The Church Street facility was opened in November 2018 by Welsh Mountain Health Centers, which later absorbed Lancaster Health Center through a merger and began operating under the name of Union Community Care.

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Other elected leaders visited Union Community Care’s Lancaster health centers, including state Rep. Dave Zimmerman (R-99) and state Sen. Ryan Aument (R-SD36).

“We were thrilled to have the opportunity to share Union’s effective model of care with our visiting elected officials,” said Alisa Jones, Union Community Care president & CEO, in a press release. “Providing community-based medical, dental, and behavioral healthcare to all in our community – especially those who are underserved or face barriers to care – is core to our mission and our privilege.”

“We appreciate the support of all of our elected officials!”

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