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Community Health Centers Celebrate Decades of Service

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, August 7, 2013

Follow-up care coordinated by health counselors plays a big part in the success at Open Door. "There are lots of follow-up calls or face-to-face meetings to make sure that they got their medication and that they're taking the medication and that they can afford their medication. Do they know how to test their blood sugar? Can they afford the types of foods that they should be eating?" Farrell says. "We have classes and facilities outside of the exam room so that is how we are a little different than more traditional physician practices."

Unlike community health centers in rural areas, which serve a wider socio-economic demographic because they're often the only care provider in town, Farrell says Open Door's patients are largely working poor people, mostly Latinos, who have no other affordable venues in a part of the nation that is otherwise teeming with providers.

"We are in suburban New York and if anything, we are over-doctored and over-hospital bedded here," she says. "Isn't it fascinating that despite that federally qualified health centers still need to exist because our patients couldn't get served in the traditional setting? You wish that physician practices and hospitals could be accommodating, but the fact is that they aren't and that is why we needed to be here."

NACHC's Amy Simmons Farber says more than 1,000 events are planned next week under the theme of Transforming Health Care in Our Local CommunitiesCommunity health centers across the nation will host dignitaries and the public and members of Congress enjoying their well-earned five-week recess will be invited to learn about the unique services the centers provide and the impressive track record compiled while delivering nearly 50 years of value-based and coordinated care.

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