Community health centers offer a safety net that’s under stress

One in 11 Americans rely on federally designated community health centers for routine medical care, social services and, in some cases, food. Many centers are short-staffed and struggling to compete for professionals. Funding is a concern.

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January 29, 2024 - 2:28 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Elisa Reyes has come to Plaza del Sol Family Health Center for doctor’s appointments for more than a decade. She moved away a while ago but keeps returning — even if it means a two-hour roundtrip bus ride.

That’s because her two children see the same doctor she does. Because when she’s sick, she can walk in without an appointment. Because the staff at the Queens clinic helped her apply for health insurance and food stamps.

“I feel at home. They also speak my language,” Reyes, 33, said in Spanish. “I feel comfortable.”

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