National Health Centers Week Is Aug. 11-17

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Erlanger Health System affiliates, Southside and Dodson Avenue Community Health Centers and Children’s Hospital Urgent Care Center, are hosting several events to commemorate National Health Centers Week, Aug. 11-17. 

To kick off the week, a special proclamation will be announced on Monday at 2 p.m. at Dodson Avenue Community Health Center.  Erlanger representatives and local elected officials will be present to show their support for health care services in the community.    

Two Patient Appreciation Days will also take place during the week between 9 a.m.-2 p.m., providing free health information to patients and refreshments provided by the staff.  The first will take place on Tuesday at Dodson Avenue Community Health Center.  The Southside Community Health Center Patient Appreciation Day will be held on Wednesday.   

This year’s theme, “Increasing Access to Affordable, Cost Effective, High Quality Care,” highlights the more than 45-year record of history and growth of health centers in comprehensive, high-quality preventive and primary health care to patients regardless of their ability to pay.  According to the National Health Centers website, the week also provides an opportunity to focus on the progress the centers have made towards fulfilling the goal of "Access for All America" plan to provide a health care home to 30 million patients by 2015.  “With a proven track record of success, community health centers have played an essential role in national recovery and reinvestment efforts and will play a key role in implementation of the Affordable Care Act.” 

Not only nationwide, but locally, these centers are on the forefront for enrollment assistance of the affordable health insurance coverage.  A grant has been awarded to the centers to provide education and information on options that are available to individuals who are uninsured. 

The Southside and Dodson Avenue Community Health Centers’ focus for over 45 years is to provide primary and preventive medical care for people of all ages, including prenatal and OB/GYN services.  The centers also offer educational information on nutrition, exercise programs, diabetes, hypertension and how to stop smoking.  These services are a part of the centers' approach to providing high-quality clinical care regardless of the patients’ ability to pay and a reflection of their service to the community.  

In 2008, Children’s Hospital at Erlanger opened a new Urgent Care Center staffed with pediatric physicians to provide non-emergent medical needs during afterhours to Erlanger’s smallest patients.  In addition to treating the patients, the staff educates families about their primary care options.  Last year, Children’s Hospital Urgent Care Center provided medical service to 5,000 patient visits and anticipates continued growth to 10,000 patients visits a year.  While the children may have medical coverage, it is their family members who may not.  Through the work in enrolling the community and implementing the Affordable Care Act, the Children’s Hospital staff will also provide information on adult health coverage options. 

Through both the adult health centers and Children’s Urgent Care Center, the centers’ affiliation agreement with University of Tennessee College of Medicine Chattanooga has also enabled Erlanger to offer all patients access to a full range of physicians for specialized care.  The partnership they have with the community and a hospital system such as Erlanger is a truly unique opportunity to serve residents not only in the city limits but also patients from the region and surrounding states.  

Erlanger Health System wishes to thank all of the staff for their commitment to exceptional patient care.

For more information on the events or health services, contact the Southside Community Health Center, 100 East 37th St., at 778-2700 or Dodson Avenue Community Health Center, 1200 Dodson Ave., at 778-2800.  Children’s Hospital Urgent Care is located on the lower level of Children’s Hospital on Blackford Street and is open seven days a week from 6 p.m. until midnight.  For more information, on pediatric services, call 778-6011.

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