National Health Center Week 2022: Community Health Center Patients

National Health Center Week, an annual celebration to raise awareness of the accomplishments of community health centers, will be held August 7-13. Join us in celebrating the patients served by community health centers!
National Health Center Week (NHCW) is an annual celebration to raise awareness of the mission of community health centers and recognize their accomplishments. As NHCW 2022 approaches, we are reflecting on the patients cared for by community health centers.
Who is Cared For by Community Health Centers?
By mission and statute, community health centers care for all patients that come through their doors, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay for care. Tennessee's health centers care for more than 415,000 vulnerable and underserved patients per year.1 Health center patients come from all walks of life with diverse economic, social, and cultural background and receive care that is tailored to meet their unique health care needs.  
Health Centers Care for People Experiencing Homelessness 
Community health centers provide care to folks who are experiencing housing insecurity or homelessness- including 1.2 million patients experiencing homelessness.2 About 5% of Tennessee's health centers patients experience homelessness.3 While all health centers care for patients irrespective of their housing status, some health centers receive funding through the National Health Care for the Homeless Council (NHCHC) dedicated to providing compassionate care to folks experiencing homelessness, including seven in Tennessee covering Chattanooga, Johnson City, Knoxville, Memphis, and Nashville.  

These centers ensure people experiencing homelessness receive the care they need not only to improve their health but address the complex non-medical factors that shape their health. Health centers provide comprehensive care to patients experiencing homelessness, including primary care, behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment, dental and pharmacy. Beyond medical care some of these centers operate day shelters where folks can receive basic service of everyday living such as shower and laundry facilities and receive food and clothing. Health centers also provide extensive case management to ensure folks are connected to services including employment services, identification, and enroll in benefits. Centers also rely on intensive community outreach and mobile health care unites to meet folks where they are living at the time to ensure they still receive the care they need to treat their conditions.
Health Centers Care for Those Living in Public Housing  
More than 400 community health centers are located public housing or in close proximity to public housing, and serve more than 5 million patients nationally.4 Of the 400 health centers, more than 100 receive dedicated funding in Public Housing Primary Care grants.5 Tennessee's health centers serve more than 67,000 patients in or near public housing, ensuring they can conveniently access comprehensive health care services.6 
Health Centers Care for Immigrants and Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Workers 
Health centers provide care that is culturally competent and linguistically appropriate. Nationally, health centers care for nearly 7 million patients best served in a language other than English.7 In Tennessee, 10.5% of patients are best served in a language other than English.8 

Beyond providing care to immigrant and refugees, health centers provide care to more than 977,000 agricultural workers.9 Some health centers operate programs specifically to serve migrant and seasonal agricultural workers, including three health centers in TN. Health centers rely on bi-lingual staff to ensure care is linguistically appropriate and peer health educator and outreach staff to provide culturally competent care. Health centers also bring care to migrant and seasonal agricultural workers at their places of employment to remove barriers that could otherwise prevent workers from receiving care.  
How You Can Help
Community health centers care for our state's most underserved populations, ensuring all patients receive high-quality care regardless of the conditions in which they live and work. Become a health center advocate to ensure that folks can continue to access compassionate care. 
[1] Tennessee Health Center Program Uniform Data System (UDS) Data. (2022). Retrieved from
[2] Community Health Center Chartbook 2022. (2022). Retrieved from 
[3] Tennessee Health Center Program Uniform Data System (UDS) Data. (2022). Retrieved from
[4] Ibid.
[5] Sunday, 8/7- Public Health in Housing Day. (2022). Retrieved from
[6] Tennessee Health Center Program Uniform Data System (UDS) Data. (2022). Retrieved from
[7] Community Health Center Chartbook 2022. (2022). Retrieved from 
[8] Tennessee Health Center Program Uniform Data System (UDS) Data. (2022). Retrieved from
[9] Community Health Center Chartbook 2022. (2022). Retrieved from



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