by Ross Brooks, CEO, Patient
The American Community Health Center movement was birthed in the 1960’s in large part by two visionary physicians, Dr. Jack Geiger and Dr. John Hatch. Under the Johnson Administration’s War on Poverty, Dr. Geiger and Dr. Hatch launched the country’s first Community Health Centers, providing access to affordable healthcare and social services.
Dr. Geiger believed “that doctors should use their expertise and moral authority not just to treat illness but also to change the conditions that made people sick in the first place: poverty, hunger, discrimination, joblessness and lack of education.”
After more than 60 years of providing community-oriented care, Dr. Geiger passed away last week at the age of 95. His vision and stories can be read and listened to online at: www.chcchronicles.org/.
Several years ago, I had the good fortune of having breakfast with Dr. Geiger in Washington DC. He had lost his sight years earlier and I clearly remember his quip to a group of eager listeners: “I may have lost my sight, but I’ll never lose my vision.” Dr. Geiger had a vision of access to health for all as a human right.
His vision had lasting impacts, as America’s Community Health Centers today provide primary medical, dental, and behavioral healthcare to more than 30 million people nationwide. And Dr. Geiger’s vision impacted Mountain Family Health Centers directly as well, as we, as an organization, believe that access to health is a human right.
In pursuit of this vision, we continue to expand access to affordable medical, dental, and behavioral health care across Western Colorado, including:
-In 2020, Mountain Family launched the Health for All Fund to provide support to the thousands of people in our community who remain without affordable health insurance or affordable health care.
-In 2021, Mountain Family will expand our sliding fee scale discounts to support individuals and families up to 400% of the federal poverty level to ensure that middle-income families have access to affordable medical, dental, and behavioral healthcare services.
-In 2021, Mountain Family will also expand medical, dental, and behavioral health services via a network of School-Based Health Centers serving the Roaring Fork Valley.
We’re pleased to provide affordable, integrated medical, dental, and behavioral healthcare to 21,000 people across Garfield, Pitkin and Eagle counties. To make a medical, dental, or behavioral health appointment at Mountain Family, call us at 970-945-2840 or visit us online at www.mountainfamily.org.