Opinion

Celebrate community health centers

To the Editor;

Community health centers are the backbone of our nation’s primary health care system. They design innovative, integrated primary care based on what services communities need most — ensuring access to affordable, quality healthcare for over 30 million people. In addition to creating jobs and saving lives, 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. Community Health Centers care for everyone, regardless of insurance, financial or immigration status.

Community Clinical Services, one of Maine’s 20 community health centers, was incorporated in 1985 as a 501(c)3 community-benefit, nonprofit with a purpose to serve the underprivileged with culturally competent, compassionate healthcare. Since its inception, staff have been committed to providing equitable access to primary health services regardless of an individual’s ability to pay across 10 service site locations including B-Street Health Center, CCS Pediatrics, CCS Dental Clinic, CCS Outpatient Counseling, CCS Psychiatry, Behavioral Case Management and four school-based health centers that are embedded in the Lewiston and Auburn Middle and High Schools. Our dedicated, professional staff provide exceptional medical, dental, and mental health services to more than 13,000 patients annually.

To survive and thrive, it is imperative that Congress must pass long-term funding for Community Health Centers and legislation protecting the 340B drug pricing program. In Maine we are fortunate and always grateful to have the support of U.S. Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins along with Reps. Jared Golden and Chellie Pingree.

As part of National Health Center Week 2023 from Aug. 6–12, and in recognition and honor of the difference and impact CHCs make in serving some of our most vulnerable populations, I invite people to support community health centers. 

Coleen L. Elias, CEO

Community Clinical Services, Inc.

director of grants & development 

community clinical services

Lewiston

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