The Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers recently presented Democratic Whip Katherine Clark (MA-5) the 2023 Distinguished Community Health Center Champion Award during a visit to Charles River Community Health Center (CRHC) in Waltham, MA.
The 2023 Distinguished National Association of Community Health Centers award was presented by Elizabeth Browne, CEO of CRHC and Board Chair of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers.
"Congresswoman Clark has been a true champion for the patients we serve as she continues to deliver essential support for health centers across the Commonwealth," Browne commented. "Her leadership in securing funding through the American Rescue Plan allowed our primary care providers and staff to see patients through the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, expanded our vaccination efforts and allowed a continuity of care for patients with chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. The benefits that the Inflation Reduction Act will bring to our patients in the form of reduced prices for prescription medications will be life changing.
Congresswoman Clark has been instrumental in helping secure American Rescue Plan Act for the nation's health centers. $146 million of that funding was secured for Massachusetts, which allowed CRHC to hire additional staff, upgrade equipment, and expand access to care. Clark has also served as a key advocate in addressing the opioid epidemic driven by efforts to increase substance use disorder education and prevention, to developing workforce initiatives like expanding loan repayment for addiction specialists - who commit to practicing in under-resourced areas so that more people in need can gain access to substance use disorder services.
"Every day, community-based health centers like Charles River Community Health provide quality, affordable, and life-saving health care to millions of Americans," said Congresswoman Clark. "Whether it's funding from the American Rescue Plan to expand access to care or reducing the cost of prescription drugs in the Inflation Reduction Act, Democrats have put lowering health care costs at the top of our agenda in Washington, and I remain committed to making affordable health care a reality for everyone in the Fifth District and across the country."
Signed into law one year ago, the Inflation Reduction Act capped drug costs for seniors, allowed Medicare to negotiate prices, and expanded access to low and no-cost health care available through the Affordable Care Act exchanges.
Just recently, the Biden administration unveiled the first ten prescription drugs selected for Medicare price negotiations. As a result, two hundred thousand seniors in Massachusetts will see their prescription costs reduced. Browne said, "Given 97.9% of our patients are low income and struggle financially, we strongly support programs to reduce prescription drug costs for patients and their families."