More patients for US community health centers due to Obamacare

By IVCPOST Staff Reporter

Jul 20, 2013 01:48 AM EDT

US Community health centers said that they are expecting millions of newly insured patients under the health reform law of President Barack Obama, Obamacare. Due to recent US budget cuts, health centers needs to improve and maintain quality services to keep the newcomers.

US Community health center provide the country's poorest areas with mental health services and primary care. Since 1965, health centers offer services to an average of 22 million citizens, more than a third of which are without insurance. The Affordable Care Act, also known as the Obamacare, is expected to bring in more than 10 million new patients. The campaign set to take off January 1.

With minimal funding to improve the level of care and services, community health centers are scrambling to ensure that they can keep the new patients. Health center official feat that over time, insured patients will opt for better service found in hospital and private practices. The move will divert the much-needed income for the centers.

"There's a big competitive reality coming for us," said Don Blanchon, executive director of Whitman-Walker Health, a community health center in Washington. "We're finally getting to the point where this is really about how good we provide care, and it's about outcomes."

Raymond Martins, chief medical officer at Whitman-Walker, said, "If patients have to wait too long or can't get an appointment, they'll go somewhere else. The care model that the health centers operate sure as hell needs to be able to compete with private practice and hospital-based doctors."

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