This time of year – election season – is not one we typically associate with consensus or collaboration, even more so when the subject is health care. However, if there is one area of our social policy where there is broad-based bipartisan agreement, it’s the essential role of Community Health Centers, which serve as the medical home for nearly 150,000 patients across our state.
For almost fifty years, Hawai‘i’s Community Health Centers have been tireless advocates for a comprehensive, integrated approach to health care; one which recognizes that the social origins of health – where a person lives, what kind of education they receive, how they access social support – create lasting effects on the sustainability of our communities. Often, it’s Hawai‘i’s poorest, most vulnerable communities where these social factors hit hardest, devastating the health and well-being of many, including the elderly and our keiki.
Our patients are treated with compassion, a respect for their culture and beliefs, and an expectation that they will be active and engaged partners in their own health. This integrated and holistic approach is how Community Health Centers consistently deliver high quality care that actually saves the health care system in Hawai‘i millions of dollars, reducing unnecessary hospitalizations while improving the health of patients with costly, chronic disease conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.
That’s one reason local, state, and federal leaders will be visiting local health centers as we celebrate National Health Center Week. It’s an opportunity to recognize the innovative solutions and partnerships we’ve developed to heal our communities and we invite you to join us at events across the state from August 7th to the 13th: NHCW in Hawaii.
For decades, Hawai‘i’s Community Health Centers, and the Hawai‘i Primary Care Association, have been champions for issues which don’t necessarily make for bold headlines but, instead, have the very real potential to save lives and save money.
In the years ahead we will continue seeing any patient, regardless of their ability to pay, and offer the highest quality, most effective level of primary care in the state. And, most important, we will continue to seek visionary partners who will work with us to introduce cost-effective, innovative, and compassionate ways to modernize and revolutionize the delivery of care so that all of Hawai‘i’s communities are healthy, thriving, and sustainable.
Mahalo for all you do