National Association of Community Health Centers President Honored for Leadership in Promoting Health of Michigan, U.S. Residents

During the 30thAnnual Awards luncheon of Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA)—the nonprofit membership organization that represents Community Health Centers and other community-based providers in Michigan—held September 29, MPCA honored Tom Van Coverden with the Legacy of Leadership award.

“The Legacy of Leadership Award is the premier award of the Michigan Primary Care Association that annually recognizes the performance of exemplary leadership to benefit Michigan Community Health Center patients,” said Kim Sibilsky, Executive Director, MPCA.  “Tom Van Coverden, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Community Health Centers, is most deserving of this award because of his three-plus decades of dedication and commitment to address the widespread lack of access to basic health care in this country.”

For nearly 40 years, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) has provided leadership for and united America’s Community Health Centers – which today total 1,200 in 50 states and all U.S. territories – in providing comprehensive, affordable, accessible, quality primary and preventive health care for all community members.  NACHC is the national voice for Community Health Centers on Capitol Hill, a provider of technical assistance and expert training to Health Center staff and boards, and a convener of collaborative partnerships with health providers, lawmakers, businesses, foundations, academic institutions, community organizations, and governments to foster the delivery of primary health care services to communities in need. 

“With Tom’s guidance, legislative expertise, and unwavering support of the Health Center model of care, Community Health Centers in Michigan and across the country stand ready to be the health care home of choice for Americans under a reformed health care system,” said Sibilsky.

In 2008, NACHC launched the ACCESS for All America Plan, a vision and aggressive plan for Community Health Centers to serve 30 million people by 2015 and, ultimately, all medically disenfranchised.  That includes extending the reach of Michigan Community Health Centers, which currently serve as the health care home for over half a million patients. 

In Michigan, 1 in 6 uninsured people are Health Center patients.  Studies show that uninsured people living within close proximity to a Community Health Center are less likely to have an unmet medical need, less likely to have postponed or delayed seeking needed care, more likely to have had a general medical visit, significantly less likely to have had an emergency room visit, and less likely to have had a hospital stay compared to other uninsured people. 

Community Health Centers save lives, and they save money.  That is why they were among the first recipients of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding, why they are included in health care reform legislation, and why they are poised to be key components of the reformed system.

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