Governor Christie Increases Funding For Community Health Centers [VIDEO/AUDIO]
Recognizing the need to care for New Jersey's most vulnerable residents, Governor Chris Christie has announced a $10 million dollar increase in funding for the state's 105 community health centers.
The increase brings the total to an all-time high of $50 million for facilities across the state in the fiscal year 2013 budget.
"These centers provide screening for blood pressure, cancer, HIV and they also serve as primary care centers for immunizations for people who are uninsured or under-insured" said Mary O'Dowd, New Jersey's health commissioner.
Statewide, more than 450,000 patients receive medical and dental care, women's health, pharmacy and other services in New Jersey's community health center sites.
"We're doubling down on these community health centers, we think they provide us the best result for the dollars we're investing for the taxpayers" said Governor Christie.
The Governor and Commissioner made the announcement at the Zufall Health Center in Dover Township, a community health center serving the health care needs of some of the most vulnerable New Jerseyans in the Morris and Hunterdon communities.
"More than 70% of Zufall's patients are uninsured, while another 30% are insured under Medicare, NJ Family Care or Medicaid. 61% had household incomes equal to or below 100% of the federal poverty level" said O'Dowd.
The Zufall Health Center, which started as a one-room, one night a week community clinic more than 20 years ago by Dr. Robert Zufall and his wife Kay, served 15,000 patients last year.
Currently, there are 46,000 patient visits a year to Dover and satellite sites in Morristown and Hackettstown, as well as a mobile van that serves rural areas of Hunterdon, Warren and Sussex counties. The Zufall Health Center is supported with more than $2 million in state funds to care for the uninsured residents in the community.
"The increase in this funding will help families well into the future, not only in keeping residents healthy, but reducing costs related to chronic disease" said O'Dowd.