The Yavapai County Board of Supervisors approved a proclamation on behalf of the Community Health Center of Yavapai (CHCY) to declare August 8 – August 14 National Health Center Week.
National Health Center Week is an annual celebration with the goal of raising awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s health centers over the past five decades.
Elected officials such as the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors join communities across the country in elevating the work Community Health Centers have done while fighting on the front lines of COVID-19 to keep our communities healthy and safe. Health centers provide preventive and primary care services to almost 30 million people across the country and have continued to do so while facing a global pandemic. Health Centers such as CHCY also provide care to people who disproportionately suffer from chronic disease and lack access to affordable, quality care. Additionally, Community Health Centers lower health care costs by 24 billion dollars a year, reduce rates of chronic diseases and stimulate local economies.
In Arizona, Health Centers are economic drivers. For every one dollar in federal funds, Health Centers generate $8.35 in economic activity across Arizona. In total, health centers in Arizona deliver $1.5 billion in economic activity. CHCY has continued to provide comprehensive, integrated primary health care services including medical, dental, pediatric, prenatal, reproductive, and behavioral health services for all residents, regardless of income or ability to pay for more than 18 years. CHCY operates three health centers in Prescott, Prescott Valley, and Cottonwood, and employs more than 100 people, who collectively served more than 12,000 patients in 2020, of which 38 percent were uninsured.
While COVID-19 continues to exacerbate social and medical inequities across the country, Community Health Centers such as CHCY have adapted themselves to provide services for those in need. As unemployment rates rise and more people lose their employer-sponsored health insurance, Community Health Centers must remain open to provide care for all, regardless of insurance status.
The mission of Community Health Centers remains crucial today because access to basic care remains a challenge in parts of the United States. Many people live in remote and underserved communities where there is a shortage of providers and, in many cases, the nearest doctor or hospital can be as far as a 50-mile drive in another county. CHCY worked to alleviate some of these challenges by providing telehealth services to our patients through the pandemic. Doing so enabled patients to speak to a provider from the comfort and protection of their own homes. CHCY also held several vaccination clinics to reach rural residents in Paulden, Cordes Lakes, Black Canyon City, and Mayer.
CHCY has a health center governing board, more than half of whom are CHCY patients. They determine the services that CHCY offers, the fees for those services, and CHCY’s hours of operations. They are also involved in strategic planning and policymaking for CHCY. CHCY is truly a health center that is based on the needs of the local communities.