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Community Health Centers: Engines of Economic Activity and Job Creation

Testimony Before the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee

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SOURCE: Center for American Progress

CAP Senior Health Policy Analyst Ellen-Marie Whelan testifies before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. Read the testimony (CAP Action).

Thank you, Chairwoman DeLauro, Chairman Miller and distinguished members, for the opportunity to testify on the important role health centers play in the delivery of quality, accessible, cost-effective health care.

This afternoon I will speak briefly about the important economic role that health centers play in their communities. But first, let me explain briefly why these centers mean so much to me.

Throughout every stage of my career I have had a personal experience with community health centers. As a nurse practitioner, I cared for patients in health centers in North and West Philadelphia and in East Baltimore. I started a nurse-run adolescent primary care clinic as satellite of a local health center, and was honored to serve on a health center community governing board. As a health services researcher I studied the content of primary care visits provided at CHCs nationwide, and while working on Capitol Hill, I had the opportunity to visit centers in some of the nation’s most underserved frontier areas and in Native-American communities.

This first-hand exposure to so many aspects of health centers afforded me a deep understanding of how and why these centers are different. How community-based care really can provide better care. Today there is much talk about providing “patient-centered” care. We need to remember this is not a new concept but the way health centers have done business for nearly half a century.

CAP Senior Health Policy Analyst Ellen-Marie Whelan testifies before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. Read the testimony (CAP Action).

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