Health center celebrates national awareness week

CARIBOU, Maine — Pines Health Services is celebrating National Health Center Week, which runs from Aug. 4-10. The event is part of a national campaign to increase awareness of the ways health centers are providing affordable health care in communities. 

A host of NHCW events that celebrate how health centers are “Rooted in Communities” are scheduled nationwide, including health fairs, visits by members of Congress and state officials to local health centers, press conferences, back-to-school drives, patient appreciation events, free health screenings and much more. 

Pines officials said special events will take place throughout the week.

Pines Health Services is part of a nationwide network of locally run health centers that serve more than 28 million people nationwide. They are on the front lines of national public health challenges, whether caring for veterans, providing medication assistance therapy to expectant mothers or responding to natural disasters. They are also a lifeline in remote and underserved communities where the nearest doctor or hospital can be as far as 50 miles or more away. Nearly half of health centers (44 percent) are located in rural communities. 

According to officials at Pines, which operates health centers in Caribou, Presque Isle, Fort Fairfield, Washburn and the St. John Valley, highlights of health center accomplishments include:  

– Reducing unnecessary hospitalizations and unnecessary visits to the emergency room.

– Treating patients for a fraction of the average cost of one emergency room visit.

– Serving more than one in six Medicaid beneficiaries for less than two percent of the national Medicaid budget.

– Lowering the cost of children’s primary care by approximately 35 percent.

– Serving over 355,000 veterans throughout the country.

National Health Center Week 2019 will highlight how the facilities are at the forefront of a nationwide shift in addressing environmental and social factors as an integral part of primary care, reaching beyond the walls of conventional medicine to address the factors that may cause sickness, such as lack of nutrition, mental illness, homelessness and substance use disorders.  

Community health centers’ success in managing chronic disease in medically vulnerable communities has helped reduce health care costs for American taxpayers.  

Pines Health Services is a non-profit, community-based multi-specialty medical and dental practice serving the residents of northern and central Aroostook County. 

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