25 Percent Of Vermonters Expected To Use Health Center Services
An expansion of Vermont’s network of Federally Qualified Community Health Centers will add more than 30 thousand patients to the rolls of those being served.
Three new centers are opening in Bristol, Randolph and Arlington.
The Battenkill Valley Health Center in Arlington, which is expected to open in January, is the first of Vermont’s 11 centers to be located in Bennington County.
Beth Wennar, who serves on the center’s board says the facility will fill a critical need.
“We have one family medicine physician in Arlington that’s been there about 26 years. He was at significant risk and we were about to lose access. This will really help us to maintain things in our area,” Wennar says.
The community health centers are funded under the Affordable Care Act and operate throughout the country.
Senator Bernie Sanders says in the coming year one-quarter of Vermonters will receive care through them once all the centers are operating. Vermont is believed to have the highest per-capita participation among the 50 states, slightly ahead of West Virginia.
"We welcome Medicaid, we welcome Medicare," Sanders says. "If you don’t have any insurance there’s a sliding scale. We think that if American moves as aggressively as Vermont does, the health care outcomes will be a hell of a lot better and we think we’re going to save money as well.”
The 11 community health centers operate 51 satellite facilities around the state. In addition to medical care, the community health centers also provide dental care and mental health counseling.