Supporting America’s Community Health Centers

Supporting America’s Community Health Centers

By: David Etzwiler, CEO, Siemens Foundation; and Dave Pacitti, Board Member, Siemens Foundation, President of Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc. and Head of the Americas for Siemens Healthineers

The Siemens Foundation’s work is inspired by the culture of innovation, research and continuous learning that is the hallmark of Siemens’ companies. And what’s core to everything we do is a commitment to improving social equity. As we assessed how to support the nation’s response to COVID-19, we saw not only a need to deploy technology and innovation, but to focus on narrowing gaps in access to quality and affordable healthcare.

 

We believe that one of the most effective ways we can support the fight against COVID-19 is by helping to ensure that the medically underserved and uninsured have access to the critical healthcare they and their families need in this moment of crisis. We know that COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting lower-income people and people of color. The infectious nature of this virus combined with longstanding challenges ranging from higher rates of underlying illnesses, to lack of access to quality care, to housing disparities, have created a perfect storm for our most vulnerable communities.

This is why, now, more than ever, we need to support the nation’s largest primary care providers for the medically underserved and uninsured: our nation’s community health centers. Community-based health centers provide medical, oral and behavioral care as well as pharmacy and social services. They also are providing a semblance of relief to emergency departments by servicing COVID-19 patients with mild or moderate symptoms and building up their testing capabilities.

 

Yet at this time when the need is greatest, our community health centers are unfortunately facing a funding shortage. This is crippling their ability to stay open and provide vital medical services. Which is why, earlier today, the Siemens Foundation announced a $1.5 million commitment to 12 community-based health centers based on the needs of underserved communities most vulnerable to COVID-19 in Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Denver, Newark, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., New York, Orlando and Seattle.

The Siemens Foundation has focused our programs and efforts on creating opportunities for those who need it most; right now, there’s nothing more important than being able to access healthcare. Furthermore, by addressing health inequities through the support of community health centers, we are ultimately strengthening the entire U.S. healthcare system in combatting the pandemic.

 

This is an important takeaway for us that shows our focus on equity is more than ever. As we support and work alongside the institutions working to sustain our social compact, we make all of society more resilient for the future.