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While elected officials across the country are debating solutions to address the COVID-19 pandemic, community health centers (CHCs) are key to ensuring everyone can access affordable, quality health care, during and beyond the pandemic. They are locally run yet part of a national network serving almost 30 million people nationwide. They save American taxpayers $24 billion a year in health care costs by preventing and managing chronic diseases.

CHCs are not ordinary medical clinics; they are also problem-solvers who reach beyond the exam room to care for the whole person by providing access to necessities like food and housing resources. Community Health Centers care for everyone, regardless of insurance status. As unemployment rises and more Americans lose their employee-sponsored health care, community health centers will be the key to keeping America healthy.

Wood River Health Services is a private, nonprofit, federally qualified community health center providing top-quality medical, dental and behavioral health care to Southern Rhode Island and southeastern Connecticut residents. With locations in Hope Valley and Westerly, we provide primary care for families and individuals as well as community resource assistance, care management, chronic care, cancer screening and Women’s Health program, and WIC.

In order to survive and thrive well beyond the pandemic, Congress must pass emergency and long-term funding for community health centers. We would like to thank Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Representatives. James Langevin and David Cicilline for their unwavering support of Wood River Health Services and all of Rhode Island’s CHCs.

As part of National Health Center Week 2020 (August 9–15), we invite you to support a community health center in your neighborhood and celebrate their mission and accomplishments. To learn more about Wood River Health Services, check us out online at wrhsri.org or find us on Facebook!

Alison Croke

Hope Valley

The writer is the president and CEO of Wood River Health Services.

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