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News & Government

The President’s Initiative for
Health Center Growth

The Connecticut Primary Care Association appreciates the support of many government and political officials who understand the need for maintaining a strong network of community health centers and, through words and actions, demonstrate their commitment.

The Presidentís Initiative to Expand Health Centers will substantially strengthen the safety net for those most in need by extending the availability of primary care services to new and existing patients.

The Initiativeís goal is to create new and expanded health center access points to impact 1,200 communities by the end of fiscal year (FY) 2006, subject to future appropriations. New health center sites, established by either new or existing grantee organizations, will provide primary care access points for populations not currently being served. Capacity expansion at existing centers will also serve new populations and penetrate deeper into currently underserved populations. Combined, these strategies will aid in moving the Nation toward 100 percent access to primary health care and the elimination of health disparities.

Maintaining a commitment to community-based programs, the Presidentís Initiative will allow Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC) grantees to reach an additional six million people over the next 5 years, and lead to an eventual doubling of the total number of health center users.

The health center expansion effort places a nearly equal emphasis on the creation of new access points and the expansion of existing access points. A total of 630 new access points (new grantee organizations or new satellite sites of existing grantees) will be created in areas where there currently are no health centers. In addition, 570 existing sites will be significantly expanded to build increased capacity and penetrate further into underserved populations by remaining open for additional hours, increasing the number of providers, etc.

This Initiative will result in over 30,000 new people working in health centers. About 4,500 new primary care providers will be needed to staff the new and expanded access points. And perhaps most important in the initial development phase, over 700 community-based boards of directors will need to be developed or structurally changed as we move toward the vision of 100 percent access and the elimination of health disparities.

To meet this challenge, there must be a coordinated approach with equal attention to three essential areas:

<> Strengthening existing health centers
Managing the growth of new health centers
 Managing quality improvement in all health centers

The growth of health centers must build on the existing foundation of the 750 Health Centers that are currently serving over 10 million people. Efforts to strengthen all aspects of center operations with particular emphasis on managing quality improvement must continue.