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Health clinic's service worthy of celebration

Published: Friday, July 25, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Aug. 18, 2014 7:33 a.m. CDT

National Health Center Week will be celebrated Aug. 10-16. The Whiteside County Community Health Clinic Governing Council would like to thank the citizens of Whiteside County for their support. 

For nearly 50 years, community health centers have delivered comprehensive, high-quality preventative and primary health care to patients, regardless of their ability to pay. Their costs of care rank among the lowest and reduce the need for more expensive hospital-based and specialty care, saving billions of dollars for taxpayers.

Whiteside's community health clinic, in Rock Falls, serves 13,000 patients. Its mission is to provide primary and preventative medical, dental and behavior health care across the region and receive individuals from all life cycles with dignity and respect in a caring environment.

Nearly all clinic patients are low income, with more than 70 percent of patients having family incomes at or below poverty. One out of every three residents of the Sterling/Rock Falls area utilizes the clinic. 

The clinic continues to grow with the needs of the community and recognizes although primary care has historically focused on physical health, an integrated health care model will provide quality management of comorbid chronic conditions, including depression and anxiety that results from physical ailments such as diabetes, cardiac problems, chronic pain, etc. 

Understanding the interaction between medical and behavioral health is important, the clinic hired a nurse practitioner certified in psychiatry and is incorporating an integrated service model that encompasses behavioral health into the medical visit. 

Expanding and strengthening the system of health centers in the U.S. would further reduce health disparities, increase access to high-quality regular care, and boost local economies. As a result, fewer Americans would rely on costly sources of care such as the emergency department, saving taxpayers and making overall health care more efficient.

Health centers are therefore good public investments that generate substantial benefits for patients, communities, insurers, and governments.

Note to readers: Donna Bausman is president of the Whiteside County Community Health Clinic Governing Council.

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