The Iowa-Nebraska Primary Care Association’s out with its legislative agenda this year. The group operates and advocates for community health centers that take a load off traditional hospitals, according to director Ted Boesen. He explains they serve immigrants, the poor and those without much healthcare coverage. They take care of those who have trouble getting access in other fashions, but he says while you might think that means it’s not good care, that’s not the case. Medicaid and other programs pay some of their bills, and everyday clinic visits and preventive care make up much of the healthcare provided. Community Centers are required to provide a primary-care medical “home” that delivers everything from primary care to ongoing chronic disease management. The Primary Care Association says the 2-point-eight million people living in Iowa made 1-million-43-thousand visits last year to hospital emergency rooms…and estimates a tenth of those were unnecessary. Boesen explains that getting regular care prevents illnesses or injuries from becoming emergencies that will require more costly remedies. The approach has proven nationally to cut way down on the use of emergency rooms and specialty-care referrals, as untreated cases get worse until they cost the system much more to care for. He says the most dramatic example is Marshalltown, which recently got a community health center. The local hospital’s found less demand on its emergency-room, service which costs on average over 600 dollars a visit according to Boesen. The care association’s legislative priorities this year include funding mental-health care services.
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