Top Award Honors Lawmaker Who Championed Investment in Primary Care, Community Health Centers

Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) will present U.S. House Majority Whip James Clyburn with the 2010 “Distinguished Community Health Leadership Award” on behalf of those who rely on America’s Health Centers for their health care.  The top award is given to select leaders of Congress who have gone above and beyond in championing wider access to primary care and also strengthen the investment in Community Health Centers.

“We deeply appreciate the extraordinary work and leadership of Congressman Clyburn in advancing efforts in Congress to fix the health care system and promote the savings in health care through primary care and prevention,” said Tom Van Coverden, President and CEO of NACHC. “We look forward to continuing our work with Congressman Clyburn and bipartisan Congressional leaders toward the promise of new and expanded coverage and access to care for the 60 million people in America who today are without doctors and ready access to health care.

The national award will be presented to Congressman Clyburn today in Washington at a Congressional Awards Reception held at the Newseum and attended by community health leaders from South Carolina and across the country.  The reception is part of the 35th annual NACHC Policy and Issues Forum.

We’ve truly counted on Congressman Clyburn as an important voice on behalf of health centers in our state and indeed across the country,” said Lathran Woodard, Chief Executive Officer of the South Carolina Primary Health Care Association. “As economic conditions remain challenging, he also understands that health centers play a key role in providing access to affordable care and stand ready to grow and meet the challenges and demands of the future.”

Health centers serve as the health care home for 20 million people in more than 7,500 communities.  Yet demand for their services has grown, particularly as millions of people have lost their health insurance along with their jobs during the economic recession. The landmark health care reform efforts in Congress call for direct investment to health centers that will allow them to care for 45 million people and help keep down health costs.  Health centers save the health care system $9.9 billion to $17.6 billion a year by keeping people healthy and out of hospital emergency rooms. Those savings are projected to grow through increased investment extending the reach of a primary care medical home to more uninsured and medically underserved Americans.

Founded in 1971, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance and expand access to quality, community-responsive health care for America’s medically underserved and uninsured.  NACHC represents the nation’s network of more than 1,250 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) which serve more than 20 million people through 7,500 sites located in all of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam.  Learn more about NACHC at www.nachc.com.

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