Commentary: Celebrating National Health Center Week

Commentary: Celebrating National Health Center Week

This is National Health Center Week and, to celebrate, I would like to share with you the benefits that Neighborhood Health – Alexandria’s community health center – offers to residents.

Community Health Centers (CHCs) were developed in the 1960s to provide healthcare to underserved populations and they have evolved to serve more than 25 million people through 9,200 sites nationwide. CHCs offer a comprehensive array of outpatient services; are open to patients regardless of insurance status or ability to pay; and are located in areas of high need. Most CHCs – and Neighborhood Health is no exception – serve patients with one or more chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, asthma, and heart disease. Neighborhood Health’s providers work closely with patients to encourage lifestyle changes, help them apply for health insurance, and help them access other services, such as free or low-cost medications, lab services, and cancer screenings.

Alexandria’s average household income is high, but there are pockets of poverty and people who have challenges with access to care. That’s where Neighborhood Health comes in. For 20 years, we have served many thousands of low-income uninsured/underinsured residents. Our work has been supported by many individual donors, local foundations, city government, and in strong partnership with other Alexandria non-profits.

We offer pediatric and adult medical and behavioral health services at our site on East Glebe Road in Arlandria and at the Casey Health Center in the West End. We send a physician team to the Alexandria Community Services Board twice each week to provide medical care to CSB mental health clients. We provide dental services at the Health Department’s building on King Street and on the “WOW Bus” that visits seven ACPS Elementary Schools. Soon, we will be providing a new portable dental program so we can serve more people in need.

During this National Health Center Week, Neighborhood Health wants to thank all of our partners who have made it possible to serve so many in need of a medical home. Thank you for your long-standing commitments to assuring access to health care for everyone. Our strategic plan calls for helping even more Alexandrians access the highest quality of care. Thank you for being our partner in this journey.