Raising the profile of community health centers

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - On the outside, Coastal Family Health Center looks like any other medical facility.  It's staffed with doctors and nurses, and provides a range of comprehensive health services.

However, there is one thing that set's this clinic apart from the rest.

"We see the uninsured population. They have nowhere else to go if they don't have the money or the insurance for the visits," said Coastal Family Health Center CEO Angel Greer.

Coastal Family Health is a part of the community clinic network, which is celebrating its national mission of providing primary health care to anyone who needs it.

"We have 1200 health centers across the country serving 23 million people. People always say it's the best kept secret in America, and we don't want it to be," said Vice President of the National Association of Community Health Centers Craig Kennedy.

Presidential Proclamation has declared the second week in August National Health Center Week with the hope of raising the profile of community clinics like Coastal Family.

"We want people to know there's a health center here. We want people to know where they can go for primary care and preventative care and keep costs down in this country," said Kennedy.

Health officials say without these health centers that offer affordable care, Emergency Rooms would be overwhelmed.

Coastal Family receives a combination of federal and state funding, but most of its funds are earned through its health services from patients or insurance.  The clinic offers multiple payment plans to help those who couldn't otherwise afford healthcare.

"We are one of the most cost effective, and proven ways to meet the increased healthcare needs and keep costs down across the nation," said Greer.

Coastal Family has been serving South Mississippi for more than 30 years, and hopes to continue to expand and grow.

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