HEALTH CENTERS RENEWAL ACT OF 2006
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Mr. BRADLEY of New Hampshire. Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by thanking the chairman for his fine work on bringing forward this bill, as well as the ranking member, and for the bipartisan nature of this bill.
As so many other speakers have testified this morning, community health centers are an integral part of our health care network throughout our country, and are an increasingly important aspect of trying to deal with the uninsured and underinsured.
The reason they are so important is that community health centers focus on preventive care and primary care. They offer low-cost alternatives to emergency room visits, which is not only the most expensive care that people can get, but also why should we be letting illnesses progress to that stage when community health centers can help people with preventive and primary care.
Community health centers focus on the uninsured and the underinsured, a critical element of our health care delivery system. And the cost savings to our system are significant, as other people have testified this morning.
In my State of New Hampshire, in 2004 there were 219,000 patient visits to community health centers. Not only do they provide basic preventive care, but also education, outreach, screenings, nutrition counseling, substance abuse counseling, prenatal care, and dental care, so the community health centers are full service medical care for so many different people in our community.
I have eight community health centers in my district. I have visited three of them, and I would like to cite them all for their good work: The Avis Goodwin Community Health Center in Dover that is run by Janet Atkins; the Manchester Community Health Center in Manchester, the director is Ed George; and the Lamprey River Community Health Center in New Market run by Ann Peters recently won a Federal project designation and was able to significantly expand their ability to treat patients in their area of New Hampshire. Their efforts are noteworthy. That is why this legislation is so important to be able to not only encourage the existing health care centers we have, but to expand them and expand their mission.
So I urge my colleagues to support the bill. I thank the chairman and thank the ranking member for the bipartisan nature of this bill.
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