On June 28, in a five-to-four decision, the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The decision included the controversial individual insurance mandate.
"Right now, the dust is still settling on the Supreme Court's decision regarding the Affordable Care Act," said Don McBride, ACCESS Family Care chief executive officer. "Tomorrow, we'll still be serving patients as usual, providing them with the same high quality care we demonstrate through goals and outcomes. That will never change."
According to the National Association of Community Health Centers, the Supreme Court's decision will allow Community Health Centers to continue to expand access to cost-effective and affordable healthcare to more people in more communities that lack services.
The association also states that in the coming years, 32 million uninsured Americans will have the opportunity to gain insurance coverage through Medicaid or an insurance exchange.
Community Health Centers vows to work to bring more doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals and quality cost-effective primary and preventive services to more under served communities in anticipation of more Americans using healthcare services.
The association also points out one disappointment in the Supreme Court's ruling, the weakening of the Medicaid expansion. According to Community Health Centers, this leaves 16 million low-income people with no affordable coverage alternative and potentially denies other Americans the security of having insurance for healthcare needs.
In April, ACCESS Family Care held a grand opening celebration for a new state-of-the-art community health center, located at 4016 N. Main in Cassville. The facility, which was constructed under the Affordable Care Act, provided space for an additional full-time physician, two dentists and two dental hygienists. It is estimated that 5,000 additional patients will be served at the new facility.
"One of the special characteristics of community health centers is that they work to increase wellness in the communities they serve," said McBride. "We are highly regulated, we monitor and report on patient health outcomes and we meet high standards for excellent care.
"Missouri ranks as one of the nation's unhealthiest states," said McBride. "ACCESS is working hard and with patient cooperation, we're making a difference and improving wellness in our communities. That's our job."
ACCESS Family Care was founded in 1996 as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) for the purpose of increasing access to primary healthcare for those who lack medical insurance coverage.
As a FQHC, ACCESS receives a federal grant from the Bureau of Primary Health Care designed to offset expenses associated with providing sliding fee discounts to patients who demonstrate economic need. Patients pay based on their ability as determined by federal poverty guidelines and other related criteria.