Sebelius Visit Stresses Importance Of Community Health Centers

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Former governor Kathleen Sebelius was back in the state that catapulted her onto the national stage, to promote community health centers Thursday at GraceMed Health Clinic at 1122 North Topeka in Wichita.

For Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Thursday's visit was an opportunity for her to see first hand how community health centers like GraceMed are utilizing federal funds to help serve the uninsured patients they have.

Sebelius said, "About 20 million Americans are currently served at community health centers and we anticipate that about 40 million Americans will actually get their health care through community health centers."

Those patients include folks like Mary Dietrich who started coming to GraceMed for health care out of necessity when she could not afford to go anywhere else.

"Been coming for about five or six years," Dietrich said. "Didn't have insurance then. And since I'm used to Carolyn and she knows all about me and she takes good care of me, I keep coming."

Founded in 1979, GraceMed has seen its number of patients increase since the economic downturn in recent months. The clinic has received a couple of federal grants worth $1.1 million dollars through the Federal Recovery Act. The money helped the clinic turn from paper records to new electronic record keeping, as well as make other improvements.

Sebelius told clinic staff and clinic supporters that federal funds from the Federal Recovery Act and the Affordable Care Act, that's the Health care Bill itself, will spur a growth in the number of patients seen in clinics like GraceMed.

"Some of those folks are uninsured, some are under insured, and a number of people are fully-insured and find community health centers are their health home because like GraceMed, it's not just a place to go to the doctor, it really is a wrap around service...a health home that has individuals who look out for the patients and are rooted in their neighborhoods," Sebelius said.

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