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Congressman Capuano Testifies in Support of Community Health Centers

April 29, 1999 -- 8th District Representative Mike Capuano testified in support of the nation's community health centers before the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee. Congressman Capuano asked the Subcommittee to provide an additional $100 million in funding to the consolidated health center program.

In written testimony submitted to the Committee, Congressman Capuano stated: "For the past thirty years, community health centers have provided essential primary and preventive medical, dental and mental health care to the most vulnerable segments of the population."

Today, more that 3,000 urban and rural health centers provide services to over 10 million Americans. 26 community health centers are located in the 8th congressional district alone, more than any other congressional district in the country. The City of Boston is also the site of the nation's first community health center. It is located at Columbia Point in Dorchester.

Congressman Capuano continued: "Placing special emphasis on the prevention of illness, health centers represent innovative and cost-effective methods to deliver primary health care to the poor and underserved in our country. These facilities save the health care delivery system over $6 billion annually in reduced use of costly hospital emergency room, specialty and inpatient care."

Community health centers are one of the most important components of the nation's health care system and must be supported financially so that they can continue to serve those in need. An alarming number of health centers nationwide are experiencing financial difficulties. Last month, the East Boston Community Health Center, the largest community health facility in Boston, was forced to declare bankruptcy because of extreme financial stress.

Congressman Capuano concluded: "As we head into the 21st century, we must ensure that these institutions continue to preserve the collective mission of improving and expanding the accessibility of quality health care services for the medically underserved in our country."