FRANKLIN, NH – Among the 5,000 people receiving primary health care services at Health First Family Health Center (Health First), the Community Health Center located in Franklin and Laconia, more than 30 percent have no health insurance and are ineligible for Medicaid or Medicare. Those patients depend on the sliding fee scale offered by Health First – and the health center’s ability to provide their care at a fraction of the cost. How that is possible, and will continue to be possible, was the topic of discussion our elected officials during their recent visits to Health First.
“Suddenly unemployed and uninsured, it’s a shock to discover you can no longer afford medical care for yourself or your family,” Silverberg said. Central New Hampshire was hard hit with job layoffs in the past few years. Silverberg measures the effect of the recession by the number of new patients he has; more than 1,000 in 2009 – most qualified for significantly reduced payments on the sliding fee scale based on income and family size. Ongoing, bipartisan support at the federal and state level is critical to keep the doors open at Community Health Centers.
“Community Health Centers were established 45 years ago so people can receive high quality health care regardless of insurance or financial circumstances,” Silverberg noted. “No one should jeopardize their health because they are embarrassed by their current circumstances. Financial arrangements with patients are made privately; clinicians and other staff are unaware of who has insurance and who doesn’t. Everyone is treated with the utmost care and respect.”
Health First Family Care Center is a nonprofit Community Health Center with offices in Franklin and Laconia. New patients are welcome. Call (603) 934-0177 for more information or to make an appointment.