Skip to main content

In Focus

Celebrating Health Centers: A Crucial Part of the Safety Net

By August 10, 2017November 27th, 2017Community Health Health Priorities

For those of us with health insurance, it can be difficult to imagine our health care without it. We aren’t familiar with the overwhelming stress of finding timely care and then paying out of pocket. Think of it this way: If you didn’t have the resources to pay for food, housing, transportation, and health care, which of these would you choose to go without?

For many people who are uninsured or enrolled in Medicaid, health centers offer a much-needed solution. Health centers offer primary care, and in some cases dental care, behavioral health care, and other social services to all people, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. In fact, one in every 15 people living in the United States depends on community health center services. But despite over 50 years of community-based experience, health centers have traditionally been viewed on the margins of the health care delivery system.

A well-deserved week of recognition

Every year in mid-August, National Health Center Week recognizes our nation’s health centers for their continued commitment and value. This year’s theme is Celebrating America’s Health Centers: The Key to Healthier Communities. During the week of August 13 – 19, each day will highlight a different facet of the crucial work that health centers do for our communities, from providing health care for the homeless to advocating for good public policy at the highest levels of government.

The Independence Blue Cross Foundation (Foundation) believes accessible, affordable health care is an essential ingredient to a happy, productive life, and supports health centers through its Blue Safety Net program. Since 2011, nearly $16 million in grant funding has been awarded to more than 40 health centers in Southeastern Pennsylvania to fund general operating expenses and targeted projects. This investment affirms the Foundation’s commitment to ensuring individuals have access to affordable care.

Learn more about health centers in our region

The Foundation recently published the Blue Safety Net County Snapshot, which is the first in a series of briefs designed to raise awareness about the network of health centers in the Southeastern Pennsylvania region. During National Health Center Week, we invite you to learn about the impact of health centers and how they are improving the health of underserved communities.

Leah Rusenko

Leah Rusenko joined the IBC Foundation team full-time in Fall 2015 after interning for two consecutive summers. Starting in a support role that spanned all program areas, she now works with the Blue Safety Net program and its health center partners. Prior to joining the team, Leah graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in International Health. She is passionate about urban health disparities, and exploring cities around the world.