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National Health Center Week 2020

Health Care for the Homeless Day

 Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless, First Nations Community HealthSource, Albuquerque; El Centro Family Health, Espanola; La Familia Medical Center, Santa Fe; Presbyterian Medical Services, Santa Fe; St. Luke’s Health Care Clinic, Inc, Las Cruses.

The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) sponsors National Health Center Week (NHCW) every year, and for 2020, this commemoration was August 9-15. The theme honored front-line healthcare providers, staff, and patients who have lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. Health Care for the Homeless Day (HCH Day) is recognized on Monday, August 10. Although all health centers provide care to very low-income people, the Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) program, the HCH Day health center sponsors provide targeted funding to expand care in order to meet the needs of New Mexico’s most vulnerable. Collectively, health centers serve 1.3 million individuals experiencing homelessness each year, with about 1 million of these individuals served by the 295 health centers that receive HCH funding, including the community health center sponsors.

We are partners in providing integrated high-quality healthcare to people who are experiencing homelessness. We have come together as part of HCH Day, coordinated by AHCH, to bring awareness to community health centers who are patient-centered organizations that serve populations with limited access to health care. Click here for a special message from NM HCH Network.

On HCH Day, as a collective, we raised awareness about the mission and accomplishments of our community impact and highlightecd the quality of care we provide to those who are experiencing homelessness, which NACHC defines as helping to “increase access to crucial primary care by reducing barriers such as cost, lack of insurance, distance, and language for their patients,” among other goals.

People who are experiencing homelessness have high rates of chronic and acute disease, behavioral health conditions, and other needs that make them particularly vulnerable to poor health, disability, COVID-19, and early death. From the beginning of the crisis, community health centers began finding innovative ways to provide preventative and primary care to the vulnerable.

As health centers serving a special population, HCHs provide high-quality, comprehensive primary care, behavioral health care, case management, outreach, and other needed services to meet the needs of people who are experiencing homelessness. Due to the nature of homelessness, services are intentionally provided in trauma-informed ways that provide healing, choice, safety, and trust while honoring consumers as partners in care and experts in their own lives.

HCH Day is a time to honor and celebrate the work being done at HCHs and to advocate for policies that end homelessness by providing comprehensive housing and health care as a human right. If you’d like more information, like-follow-share on social media at @abqhch.

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