Michigan Primary Care Association Gives Thanks

On this Thanksgiving eve, one cannot help but reflect on all there is to be thankful for. This is true for the staff at Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA), who witness on a daily basis what it means to appreciate life’s blessings. As the voice for Community Health Centers and other community based providers in Michigan, our work centers around ensuring all residents have access to affordable, quality health care. In this work, MPCA staff are thankful for…

Dedicated Health Center staff who REALLY care and who, day-in and day-out, live the Health Center mission of providing comprehensive, accessible, affordable community-based primary health care services to members of their community…no matter their age, race, ethnicity, income level, insurance or health status.

Committed Health Center board members who provide guidance in assuring their Health Center is meeting the unique needs of the community. By sharing their time and talents, these volunteers give the community a voice in the care they receive, and are key to the success of their Health Center in addressing the health care needs of their neighbors.

Compassionate and caring health care professionals who provide second-to-none care. Every day they work in teams to prevent sickness, coordinate and integrate care, manage chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease, communicate with patients in a culturally sensitive way, and keep patients out of costly hospital emergency rooms and reduce referrals to specialty care.

Patients who give Health Centers their trust, and value and utilize their services. Nearly 600,000 Michigan residents rely on a Community Health Center as their health care home for primary and preventive care, behavioral health care, dental care, eligibility application assistance, pharmacy services, x-rays, health education, smoking cessation and weight reduction programs, transportation, translation…and more!

Partnering organizations that support the Health Center mission. The support of and collaboration with community organizations, foundations, programs, coalitions, state and federal agencies, state and federal government, universities, and individuals enables Community Health Centers to innovate, maximize resources, and expand their reach.

Advocates who give Health Centers a voice. By educating their elected officials and their community, and by engaging the media, advocates raise public awareness and build support for Health Centers. The Health Center movement began with just two Health Centers in two communities over 45 years ago, and has grown to include more than 1,200 Health Centers providing care to 20 million people in more than 8,000 communities across the country. This growth, in large part, is the result of the tireless work of advocates.

Policymakers who fight to assure health care is available to everyone. For decades Presidents and Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have recognized Community Health Centers for saving lives and saving money. We are thankful for the champions in Washington, DC, and Lansing who understand the value of maintaining and strengthening the part of the health care system that is working—Health Centers.

Health care facilities whose doors are open to all, and who are a source for local jobs in the communities where they are located. In 2010, America’s Health Centers employed more than 131,000 staff, including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, certified nurse midwives, dental providers, behavioral health professionals, case managers, and health education, outreach, and transportation staff.

Resources for expanding Health Centers across the state and country. Expanding services and sites enables Health Centers to serve more patients. Access to affordable health care remains a huge problem for Americans of all income levels, as there are still 60 million people, including many with health insurance, who still lack access to a regular source of health care.

AmeriCorps members who commit one year of their lives to the MPCA Community HealthCorps program to serve their communities by building a healthier Michigan; for the many Community Health Centers and other host sites who faithfully supervise, train, and mentor these members; for the AmeriCorps Alums who continue to work and serve in communities across Michigan, many in our own Health Centers and at MPCA; and for the MPCA staff members who give freely of their time to equip our AmeriCorps members so that they can better serve their communities.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Michigan Primary Care Association family to you!

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