Recognizing the Important Work of Public Housing Health Centers

Guest Blog Post: Tuesday, August 16, 2013, is Public Housing Health Centers Day during National Health Center Week. Dr. Astril Webb, Director of the National Center for Health in Public Housing, shares about the important work of Public Housing Primary Care health centers.

The National Center for Health in Public Housing (NCHPH) joins with the National Association for Community Health Centers (NACHC) to celebrate National Health Center Week and recognize the dynamic work of community health centers. The mission of the NCHPH is to strengthen the capacity of Public Housing Primary Care (PHPC) health centers and other health center grantees by providing training and a range of technical assistance. We recognize and appreciate the role that PHPCs play in reducing health disparities and increasing access to quality health care.

So how do PHPCs make a difference within communities?

PHPCs provide public housing residents with access to affordable, high quality, and cost effective health care. These health center programs offer comprehensive care, which includes primary and preventive care, dental, mental health, substance abuse treatment, and pharmacy services as well as enabling services. PHPCs are located on-site at public housing developments or locations nearby, thereby increasing accessibility and reducing transportation barriers. PHPCs are open to all community residents, regardless of insurance status, further reducing access to care barriers. What makes PHPCs special and different from a typical doctor’s office is that PHPCs tailor their services to fit the unique needs and priorities of the public housing and other nearby communities that they serve.

How do PHPCs do the great things they do?

One of the most effective ways PHPCs achieve success is through collaboration. PHPCs collaborate with other community organizations such as churches, schools, and public housing authorities. Some use mobile units to bring programs and services into the community. With the help of resident leaders and community health workers, PHPCs are able to reach out to some of the most isolated members in their communities.

What role will PHPCs have with regards to the Affordable Care Act?

As implementation of the Affordable Care Act moves forward, PHPCs will play a significant role. PHPCs represent an ideal model of care because services range from prenatal care to chronic disease prevention to treatment of chronic and diseases to health education and much more. PHPCs are a part of the safety net and are designed to treat the whole patient through culturally‐competent, accessible, and integrated care. With the release of grant funds and resources, PHPCs are equipped to keep residents up to date on the ACA, help residents enroll in the Marketplace or help them apply for Medicaid/Medicare.

–Dr. Astril Webb

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