The NJ Health Department’s Big Money Savings Plan [AUDIO]
The New Jersey Health Department has launched a publicity tour of sorts to get the word out about the state's 20 community health centers and their 105 satellite facilities.
Health Commissioner Mary O'Dowd says they are "valuable community assets for our most vulnerable population, offering comprehensive care, including medical treatment, lab work, behavioral health, and dental services…They are regarded as an important safety net for those who need it most- and funding for them has increased - from 40 to 50 million dollars - over the past few years since Chris Christie took office.
O'Dowd says, "This is a very intelligent, smart and savvy investment in providing community primary health care services to our vulnerable populations, so that they stay healthy and we don't need to take care of them later when they're sicker…They could end up in a much sicker situation, going to an emergency room and then having a significant in-patient stay in a hospital - and that costs thousands upon thousands of dollars more."
She adds, "The State of New Jersey provides nearly a billion dollars to our hospitals to subsidize them for their care to the uninsured population, and if we can tip the scales and put more of that funding into our community health centers, we will avoid all of that cost…If we reduce the costs for hospitals, not only will we reduce the cost to taxpayers, but also to those institutions…Clearly we are guided by a goal to keep people healthy, but there is an obvious economic advantage to the state as a whole, as well as to the health care system, to invest our dollars in primary care- keeping people healthy and out of the hospital."
The Commissioner says if you want more information, "the New Jersey Department of Health website -if you Google it online - you'll be able to find resources at your fingertips to identify a community health center in your neighborhood."