“Princess Leia” to Help Texas Celebrate National Health Center Week

Published 11:19 pm Friday, August 9, 2019

By Eric Galatas

Texas News Service


UVALDE, Texas – Families are invited to come out to Uvalde High School this Friday to meet Superman and Princess Leia, and get free immunizations, school supplies, backpacks and more. 

The Wellness Fair Carnival is part of a series of events across the nation celebrating National Health Center Week. Rachel Gonzalez Hanson, chief executive of Community Health Development Inc., the carnival’s organizer, said health centers not only keep patients healthy but also are an economic engine for communities, especially in rural areas.

“We’re creating jobs – and these are not minimum-wage-paying jobs – from custodians to physicians, dentists and everything in between,” she said. “That’s what we’re celebrating. That’s what we want people to know.”
Community Health Centers provide a health-care home to more than 1.4 million Texans and serve more than 40% of the state’s uninsured population. Federally qualified health centers in Texas and across the nation have been pioneers in lowering overall health costs, in large part by creating a one-stop shop for a patient’s primary medical, mental, substance abuse, dental, behavioral and vision care needs.

Hanson said this week’s carnival and other events also are meant to remind stakeholders, including federal, state and county representatives, that health centers deliver care at nearly 500 sites across the state. If Congress renews funding set to expire on Sept. 30, she said, centers can continue to ensure a healthy workforce across Texas.

“We’re prepared to do that,” she said. “Congress needs to make sure that our funding is there, long term, stable funding to maintain all of the services that we provide, and to grow and add more services, making that healthier America that we all want.”

Nationally, health centers provide care for more than 29 million patients in more than 11,000 communities. On average, centers save 24% per Medicaid patient when compared with other providers. Health centers employ more than 220,000 people nationwide and generate more than $54 billion in economic activity in some of the nation’s most distressed communities. Roughly a third of patients at Texas health centers are children.

More information is online at nachc.org.