Rep. Gene Green honored with Community Health Champion Award
Washington, DC – U.S. Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas) accepted the 2008 Distinguished Community Health Champion Award this morning from the National Association of Health Centers.
The annual award is presented to leaders who have contributed the most to improving public health at the community level.
In his acceptance speech, Green spoke about the importance of community health centers for low-income and uninsured individuals in Texas.
“Without a medical home to receive treatment, these [uninsured] patients are likely to forego care until their medical problems require emergency treatment or inpatient hospital care,” Green said. “By providing primary, preventive, and sometimes specialty care, health centers encourage patients to seek treatment before treatable medical problems escalate to emergency room visits.”
Green noted that Texas ranks last in the nation for medical insurance coverage, with 25 percent uninsured. He also said there are more than a million people without medical insurance in Houston, but fewer than ten federally-qualified health centers.
Green introduced the Health Centers Renewal Act (H.R. 1343) last year, which has 236 cosponsors and would allow for five years of increased federal funding as part of a plan to expand the federal Health Center Program to serve 30 million patients by 2015. Green serves as vice chair of the Health Subcommittee, which has held hearings on the bill. A subcommittee mark up of the bill is expected to be scheduled in April.
Green has also secured public/private funding for existing health centers in Harris County and worked with community leaders to increase health center sites and service. He received the Safety Net Champion Award from the National Association of Hospitals in 2007.