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Speaker Pelosi Visits Florida Health Center
Date:4/20/2009

- Federal stimulus package provides needed economic boost to primary care services for Floridians -

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., April 20 /PRNewswire/ -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz today at the Broward Community and Family Health Center to discuss the positive impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on local communities, which granted more than $10 million in federal stimulus money to fund eight new or expanded community health centers across Florida.

"It is such an honor to have House Speaker Pelosi here with us today to show the support of the federal government in providing health care services for people in need," said Andrew Behrman, president of the Florida Association of Community Health Centers (FACHC). "The access to and investment in primary care is essential to the economic health of our state and our country."

The $2.6 million in federal stimulus money granted to South Florida health centers will help build a new location in West Park, Florida, that will increase access to community health care and provide services for 6,600 underserved South Floridians while saving or creating 15 local jobs.

And while community health advocates say the federal dollars are a good start, the state could realize even bigger returns by providing more support to community health centers. Such centers are much more cost-effective vehicles for delivering primary care and managing chronic diseases than the emergency rooms where many of Florida's uninsured seek medical treatment today.

FACHC has been urging lawmakers to raise the state's current investment of $15.3 million to $31 million this year. According to a new report by George Washington University Medical Center, which can be found at www.fachc.org, such an investment could save the state more than $700 million because of improved access to primary care and reduced emergency care.

"Florida has an opportunity to vault from its regrettable position as a state with among the highest rates of uninsured residents into a national leader in health care access by restructuring health care spending to invest in primary care," said Behrman. "Florida's community health centers provide care for the uninsured, and they do it at much lower cost and achieve much better results than the alternative of simply forcing the uninsured to seek emergency care at hospitals."

To view more information, visit www.fachc.org.


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SOURCE Florida Association of Community Health Centers
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