National Health Center Week, 2016

A Proclamation

Whereas: For 35 years, SWLA Center for Health Services has provided high-quality, affordable health care services in our underserved communities in Southwest Louisiana, demonstrating that locally governed healthcare can improve lives while lowering costs.

Whereas: SWLA Center for Health Services provides high quality, cost effective, and accessible primary and preventive care, including integrated medical, behavioral health, and pharmacy services, to all individuals regardless of insurance status or based on their ability to pay.

Whereas: SWLA Center for Health Services are located in medically underserved areas and locally controlled by patient-majority boards, ensuring that the Health Center always remains responsive to the needs of the specific community it serves.

Whereas: SWLA Center for Health Services Health employs nearly 160 employees and Health Centers nationally employ nearly 170,000 people, including more than 11,200 physicians and more than 9,000 nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and certified nurse midwives who work as part of a multi-disciplinary clinical teams designed to treat the whole patient.

Whereas: The Health Center model continues to prove an effective means of reducing healthcare disparities and overcoming barriers to healthcare access, including geography, income and insurance status, and in doing so, improves health care outcomes and reduces health care system costs.

Whereas: Health Centers save the entire health system approximately $24 billion annually by managing chronic conditions and keeping patients out of costlier health care settings, like hospital emergency rooms.

Whereas: Health Centers have worked tirelessly to grow the nation’s primary care infrastructure to meet the pressing need for access to care, yet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 17.3% of Americans (or more than 55 million people) still did not a have a regular place to go for healthcare in 2014.

Whereas: The demand for Health Centers continues to outpace growth, and expansion of health centers’ capacity and reach will be essential to meet the needs of these new patients, as existing Health Centers are already at capacity and many communities lack any primary care services at all.

Whereas: There is a continuing need to support implementation of Health Centers like SWLA Center for Health Services throughout the State of Louisiana as part of an enduring commitment to the provision of access to quality primary healthcare in the state of Louisiana.

Whereas: National Health Center Week offers the opportunity to recognize America’s Health Centers, their dedicated staff, board members, and all those responsible for their continued success and growth since the first health centers opened their doors more than 50 years ago. During this National Health Center Week, we celebrate the legacy of America’s Health Centers and their vital role in shaping the future of America’s health care system.

NOW, THEREFORE, we the CEO, Board of Directors, and staff of SWLA Center for Health Services. do hereby proclaim August 7-13, 2016, as National Health Center Week. I encourage every citizen to visit their local Health Center and celebrate the important partnership between America’s Health Centers and the communities they serve.