By Peg Hopkins, Executive Director
Community Health Association of Spokane
Community Health Association of Spokane (CHAS) currently serves over 30,000 patients each year, providing a health care home for the Spokane-area population. For more than four decades, Federally Qualified Health Centers have been providing quality care accessible to the entire population, regardless of insurance or ability to pay. CHAS is one of several other federally qualified health care clinics and systems in the region who are about to experience significant growth in the coming years due to an increase in demand. With our rate of growth and health care reform, CHAS anticipates to double in size over the next five years in order to provide care to an increased number of patients. This will lead to more jobs for the Spokane community and bigger picture, an overall healthier community.
What you may not have considered is that health care reform could have an impact on employment options for the entire population. It goes beyond the hiring of more medical professionals; it affects everyone from your local barista to your children’s teacher. Individuals, who previously needed to select employment based on the benefits they receive, can now choose to work in the profession of their choosing without needing to consider the corresponding level of health care coverage. The newly changed employment landscape has the potential to create a healthier community on many levels – socially, emotionally, physically and more.
These conversations are happening more frequently in our region. I recently participated in a Health Care Reform 101 panel with other health care and community leaders. This non-partisan discussion brought several individuals to the table for an exchange on the implications of health care reform in eastern Washington. With eastern Washington’s vitality connected so closely to the health care sector, there is a unique opportunity for our health care providers and businesses to come together on this issue. Ultimately, these partnerships will pay off in creating an overall healthier community and creating significant positive economic impact.
The mission of CHAS is to improve the overall health of the communities we serve by expanding access to quality health and wellness services. Check out our web site (www.chas.org) to learn more about the services and facilities offered by CHAS.