Maine’s Community Health Centers to Commemorate State and National Health Center Week

Week-long celebration highlights the critical work health centers do to ensure the health and wellbeing of all Maine people

Augusta, ME – Aug. 6, 2020 – Even with the challenges, concerns and continued uncertainties posed by COVID-19, Maine has ample reason to celebrate. In conjunction with National Health Center Week, an annual event that has been held for more than 30 years with the goal of raising awareness of the mission and high quality healthcare services provided by Community Health Centers (CHCs), Governor Janet T. Mills has proclaimed August 9-15 as Maine Community Health Center Week. This year’s theme is “Community Health Centers: Lighting the Way for Healthier Communities Today and in the Future,” reminding us that Maine’s Community Health Centers serve as beacons of strength, service, and support in communities all across Maine.

With over 70 locations throughout the state, each year Maine’s CHCs care for nearly 210,000 individuals, or 1:6 Maine people, while generating overall savings to the health system of $312 million. Additionally, Maine’s CHCs are economic engines in the communities they serve, employing nearly 2,000 people and contributing more than $445 million in direct and community spending.

The professional staff and care delivery teams at Maine’s Community Health Centers are hardworking, determined, creative and compassionate. Widely recognized for their record of success in innovation, managing health care costs and reducing chronic disease, CHCs are often the first to take on new challenges, seeing them as opportunities to find creative ways to provide an even higher quality of care to patients, leading to better health outcomes for the people they serve.

CHCs also reach beyond the walls of conventional medicine to address other factors that may cause sickness, such as food insecurity, mental illness, homelessness and opioid addiction. In the face of an unprecedented COVID-19 public health emergency, Maine’s CHCs have been trusted resources for testing and care, ensuring that everyone, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay, receives the necessary information, attention and personal care they deserve.

In recognition of the thousands of CHC staff who dedicate their lives to making their communities better, Darcy Shargo, CEO of the Maine Primary Care Association, a membership organization representing the collective voices of Maine’s Community Health Center Network notes, “This week honors the outstanding work that Maine’s health centers do throughout the year. Maine’s CHCs serve on the front lines of Maine’s health care system, caring for anything from a child’s sniffle to the ravages of COVID-19. Their work is often unrecognized, but it is essential to Maine’s overall public health.” Shargo continued, “These are distressing times, but it’s important to support your personal health, the health of your family, and your local health center. We urge Mainers to keep social distancing, but stop medical distancing. Contact your local health center today.”

For a list of Maine Community Health Center Week events across the state, click here.

To learn more about Maine’s Community Health Centers and/or Community Health Center Week, please contact Bryan Wyatt at 207-707-4536.

Statement of Support for the Health, Safety and Just Treatment of All People
Darcy Shargo, CEO, Maine Primary Care Association
June 3, 2020

“The senseless and reprehensible events of this past week have angered and saddened us all. It is clear that hate, racism and social injustice remain, unfortunately, alive and well in America.

The impact of violence on communities will continue to wreak havoc on the health and well-being of people of color—who are already struggling disproportionally with the impact of the current pandemic. We can – and must – do better.

MPCA and its member Community Health Centers oppose racism in all its forms, and stand united in support of the health, safety, and just treatment of all. Community Health Centers have long stood as leaders of social change and social justice efforts. In fact, the community health center model was born out of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and we will continue to push forward the legacy of those efforts through dialogue, policy change, and a commitment to addressing the many social constructs that keep people of color from leading healthy lives.”

Statement on Gov. Mills’ Expansion of COVID-19 Testing in Maine
Darcy Shargo, CEO, Maine Primary Care Association
May 8, 2020

“On behalf of Maine’s community health center network and the more than 210,000 people they serve each year, we applaud the vital work that Governor Mills and her team at DHHS and Maine CDC are doing to significantly expand COVID-19 testing capacity in Maine and to ensure that anyone who is suspected of having COVID-19 can be tested. As frontline providers in the COVID-19 outbreak, Maine’s community health centers are committed to protecting the public health. Supported by recent investments from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, community health centers across the state look forward to continuing their work with the Mills Administration and to further assist in this effort.”