WEST NEW YORK AND BEYOND -- The New Jersey Department of Health's Deputy Commissioner Dr. Arturo Brito stopped by the North Hudson Community Action Corporation (NHCAC) headquarters on Broadway Avenue and 53rd Street Tuesday morning to announce that Gov. Christopher Christie would increase funding for federally qualified health centers from last year's $46.4 million to $50 million. This is a record amount.
The centers provide low-cost services to needy people.
The money will be distributed across the 20 centers and 98 satellite clinics statewide, including NHCAC.
The reasoning behind this, Brito said, is that such an investment in preventative care provided to those with little or no health insurance will save money in the long run and, ultimately, lives as well.
"I understand the barriers that Latinos face when seeking health care," Cuban-born Brito explained. "If you don't get care at centers like this, you end up not getting care until it's too late, and you wind up in emergency rooms. It's more costly to the community and the taxpayers, and it's dangerous for your health."
Brito chose NHCAC to make the announcement because it is the largest in the state.
"When you're a federally qualified health center," NHCAC CEO Christopher Irizarry said, "It is imperative that you have great partners on both the state and federal level to make things work. We provide access to quality health care to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay, regardless of where they're from."
Last year the NHCAC had over 233,000 patient visits to their locations in Hudson, Bergen, and Passaic counties, and numbers are expected to increase.
"It's not about the number, it's about the quality of care," Brito said. "The quality of care that is given here is extraordinary. It's a testament to excellent leadership and the hard work of the staff." -- Gennarose Pope