Party time for health
Health network for the needy to host free fairs, events
by Al Sullivan
Reporter staff writer
Aug 05, 2012 | 2257 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
GETTING INFORMATION ON HEALTH – Metropolitan Family Health Care Centers will hold health fairs in Jersey City and in West New York.
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It’s summer time and for the Metropolitan Family Health Network – which helps many of the under privileged throughout Hudson County – it’s time to hold a “Summer Health Party.”

This is in celebration of Nation Health Center Week 2112 and will feature a number of events scheduled for Aug. 8 through 10 to raise awareness about the mission and accomplishments of American’s Health Centers as solutions for lower-income families.

“America’s community health centers are at the core of our health care system and the nation’s safety net delivering high quality, cost effective and accessible primary care to all individuals regardless of their ability to pay, keeping communities health and productive,” according to the resolution passed by the Hudson County Freeholders on July 19 recognizing both National Health Care Week as well as the Metropolitan Family Healthcare Network of Hudson County.

“We wanted to make people aware of this as a resource in Hudson County and the good work they are doing for those who are most at need,” said Freeholder Anthony Romano, commenting on why the Freeholder Board was supporting the center’s efforts.

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“It has always been a priority of mine in public service to help ensure that quality, affordable health care for our children isn’t dependent on their parents’ income level.” -- U.S. Senator Robert Menendez

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As well as honoring National Health Care Center, the theme of this year’s week is “Powering Healthier Communities,” and to underscore how these centers provide access to affordable, high quality, cost-effective health care to medically vulnerable and underserved people throughout the United States.

These centers, according to representatives from Metropolitan, develop strong partnerships among the people, governments and communities who work together to meet the unique and diverse health conditions of the community.

“Health Centers are run from the bottom up by a patient-majority governing board who guides how limited resources can be effectively directed to meet the healthcare needs of the community,” said Scott Carey, operating officer at Metropolitan, in a statement to The Hudson Reporter.

Metropolitan has three locations in Jersey City accessible by public transportation from all parts of Hudson County: at 935 Garfield Avenue, 857 Bergen Avenue, and 5300 Bergenline Avenue.

Success dependent on the community

With financial support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, Metropolitan Family Health Network, Inc. (MFHN) became the newest Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in Hudson County in the Fall of 2006. The goal of the new community health center is to make primary health services more accessible to families.

At an event held late last year, Carey said the center, which provides services for Jersey City and Bayonne residents at its Garfield Avenue facility, treats about 6,000 kids as year or about 18,000 visits last year. This includes about 2,000 flu shots, tests, and treatment for hearing, vision, pulmonary, and other medical services, including children’s immunizations.

“As local community owned and operated businesses, health center serve as a critical economic engines helping to power local economics,” according to the Freeholder resolution. “In 2009 along, health centers generated $20 billion (nationwide) in combined economic impact and were responsible for nearly 200,000 jobs in areas hit hardest by the recession.”

When a children’s room was named after him last year, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez said. “A healthy start helps our children lead productive lives. It has always been a priority of mine in public service to help ensure that quality, affordable health care for our children isn’t dependent on their parents’ income level.”

Carey said the site provides preventive measures as well as treatment. This, Menendez noted, is a key ingredient in keeping down health care costs, as it may cost less overall to prevent an illness than to treat it.

In urban areas, Menendez said young people often face chronic problems. Catching these problems earlier means more successful treatment as well.

“It’s Metropolitan Family Health Network’s mission to provide high quality, accessible health care to the under-served population in our community, regardless of their ability to pay,” said Joan Dublin, Chief Executive Office of the Metropolitan Family Health Network. “Early detection is the best protection against childhood diseases. MFHN’s Robert Menendez Screening Center will ensure that the children of Hudson County begin their lives with a strong and healthy foundation.”

Patients are charged on a sliding fee scale based on income.

“With more health care homes in communities, we can reduce healthcare costs and unnecessary hospitalizations and visits to the hospital emergency rooms,” Carey said.

Health fairs

As part of the week long celebration, the three sites will be holding a series of events. On Wednesday Aug. 8 to Friday Aug. 10, the centers will hold health fairs for the community.

The kick off event will be held on Aug. 8 at 10 a.m. at the Garfield Avenue site and will feature motivational speaker and healthcare advocate Davida Godett, who will deliver the keynote address. This will be the start of a two-day health fair at that site. On Thursday, the Garfield Avenue site will also hold a barbeque for homeless people at 9:30 a.m.

There will be children’s events available, as well at fitness classes and raffle tickets to win prizes. A back-to-school special event will be held, as well as health screenings, mental health screenings, eyesight healthcare opportunities and other related offerings. Much of the Garfield Avenue site events will be held outdoors and will also include educational sessions for the whole family, information on immunizations, stress reduction classes, skin care information, how-to’s, and a blood drive, as well as music, refreshments, and giveaways.

The West New York health fair will feature many of the same health-related programs and fun activities but will be largely conducted indoors.

Groups interested in participating in the event or for more information call (201) 478-5836.

Al Sullivan may be reached at asullivan@hudsonreporter.com.

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