United Community Health Center in Storm Lake is joining local businesses, faith leaders, educators, health providers, community organizations and individuals to recognize Cover the Uninsured Week (April 27-May 3), a national campaign organized to galvanize public awareness about the need for affordable and reliable health care coverage.
The participation of United Community Health Center in Cover the Uninsured Week comes as more and more uninsured people look to America's Community, Migrant and Homeless Health Centers for their health care, and independent studies conclude that uninsured people who live near a health center are less likely to have an unmet medical need.
"We see the faces of the uninsured every day and know their stories," said Renea Seagren, executive director. "They are our hardworking neighbors and friends whose jobs do not provide them insurance or who cannot afford private coverage. We are proud of our role in keeping the uninsured healthy and out of hospital emergency rooms by providing affordable and accessible health care. The tragedy is that for every uninsured patient we help, there are 10 other people who are sick and need life-saving specialty and inpatient care, or prescribed drugs and diagnostic tests, and don't have the insurance to cover it. That is why we are joining forces with other organizations to call for a solution to this health care crisis - because health centers alone cannot solve the problems of the uninsured."
According to the U. S. Census Bureau, 47 million people - 15% of the total U.S. population - are uninsured, including more than 9 million children. Minority groups make up for a disproportionate share of those living without health insurance.
Nationally, Community Health Centers serve one in seven uninsured men, women and children, or nearly 6 million people. The uninsured make up 40% of health center patients, a population that has grown over 59% from 1999 to 2006. Studies show that uninsured patients living in underserved areas with a health center have 5.8 fewer preventable hospitalizations per 1,000 people over three years than patients who live in areas that do not have a health center.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the General Accounting Office (GAO) have recognized health centers as models for screening, diagnosing and managing chronic conditions such as CVD, diabetes, asthma, depression, cancer and HIV. Health centers' efforts have led to improved health outcomes for their patients as well as lowered the cost of treating patients with chronic illness.
United Community Health Center is an integrated health care system, with accessible and affordable services, meeting the quality of life for all residents living in the Storm Lake service area. Plans are currently underway to build a new clinic site on West Milwaukee Street. It is the mission of the United Community Health Center to provide comprehensive primary care services to anyone including those with or without health insurance and the uninsured, underinsured and underserved. To learn more about United Community Health Center visit www.uchcsl.com.