SVCHS Celebrates National Health Center Week

National Health Center Week (NHCW) begins on August 7 through 13, and Southwest Virginia Community Health Systems (SVCHS) is preparing to celebrate!  

National Health Center Week (August 7 – 13) is an annual celebration with the goal of raising awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s health centers over the past five decades.

Community Health Centers serve as the beacon of strength, service, and care in their communities. In moments of pain and loss, they offer support and love. In moments of triumph, they offer hope and a vision for the future. Let’s come together this week to celebrate the roles Community Health Centers have played in both our recent moments of loss and triumph.  This National Health Center Week honors those front line providers, staff, and beloved patients who lost their lives during the (ongoing) COVID-19 pandemic. From the very beginning of the crisis, Community Health Centers began finding innovative ways to provide preventative and primary care to their patients.

Elected officials will join communities across the country in elevating the work Community Health Centers have done while fighting on the front lines of COVID-19 to keep our communities healthy and safe. Their visits and messages will demonstrate that not only is it possible to move beyond the partisan divide over health care, but to support and agree on a program vital to our communities.

Health centers provide preventive and primary care services to nearly 29 million people and have continued to do so while facing a global pandemic. Community Health Centers provide care to people who disproportionately suffer from chronic disease and lack access to affordable, quality care. While our approach is community-based and local, collectively we are the backbone of the nation’s primary care system.  Community Health Centers lower health care costs to the tune of 24 billion dollars a year, reduce rates chronic diseases, and stimulate local economies.

Each day of NHCW 2022 is dedicated to a particular focus area:

  • Sunday, 8/7: Public Health in Housing Day 
  • Monday, 8/8: Healthcare for the Homeless Day
  • Tuesday, 8/9: Agricultural Worker Health Day
  • Wednesday, 8/10: Patient Appreciation Day
  • Thursday, 8/11: Stakeholder Appreciation Day
  • Friday, 8/12: Health Center Staff Appreciation Day
  • Saturday, 8/13: Children’s Health Day

Community Health Centers are not just healers, we are innovators who look beyond medical charts to address the factors that may cause poor health, such as poverty, homelessness, substance use, mental illness, lack of nutrition, and unemployment. We are a critical piece of the health care systems and collaborate with hospitals, local and state governments, social, health and business organizations to improve health outcome for people who are medically vulnerable. We have pivoted to serving our communities through telehealth, drive through COVID-19 testing, and still ensuring our patients can access basic necessities like food and housing resources.

While COVID-19 continues to exacerbate social and medical inequities across the country, Community Health Center have stretched themselves to reconfigure services for those in need. As unemployment rates rise and more people lose their employee-sponsored health insurance, Community Health Centers must remain open to provide care for all, regardless of insurance status.   

The mission of Community Health Centers remains crucial today because access to basic care remains a challenge in parts of the United States. Many people live in remote and underserved communities where there is a shortage of providers and, in many cases, the nearest doctor or hospital can be as far as a 50-mile drive in another county.

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;
  • Treating 65,000 patients with Medication Assisted Therapy for opioid use disorder in 2017; and,
  • Serving over 355,000 veterans throughout the country.

NHCW highlights how health centers 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. 

This year, Southwest Virginia Community Health Systems, is celebrating the week by hosting several events:

The events that we have planned for each site are as followed:

Tazewell Community Health Center will be hosting a free health fair in partnership with ETSU on Thursday, August 4 and Friday, August 5 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

– Walk-ins Welcome. Appointments are suggested for health services. For more information or appointments, contact Jamie Beavers (276) 979-9899, ext. 1603 or Jill Talbert (276) 496-4492, ext. 1023

– Vendor exhibits and free giveaways

-FREE services include:

– Complete history and physical (by health care providers), oral health exams and dental education, lab-work: lipid panel (cholesterol) and fasting blood sugars*, *No food, only water and black coffee 12 hours before testing for more accurate readings on your lab-              work, pap smears, sports and school physicals for children, vision & hearing screenings, and EKGs

August 5, 2022: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Blood Drive at Tazewell Community Health Center with Marsh Regional Blood Bank Donation Center           

              -Weblink listed below to register:

August 11, 2022: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Blood Drive at Saltville Community Health Center with Marsh Regional Blood Donation Center (in front parking lot)

– Weblink listed below to register:

August 10, 2022: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. – Bristol Community Health Center will be hosting a Car Seat Check event in partnership with Bristol’s Promise and Buckle Up for Life.

SVCHS will be posting digital content on their Facebook page and website all week long from local and national government officials and providers and staff from SVCHS. We encourage our patients and community members to like, share, and comment on any content posted.