By The Editorial Board
Posted Oct. 15, 2015
For almost a decade, United Community and Family Services pursued designation as a federally qualified health center. More than just a name, it would open doors for UCFS to obtain more and larger financial opportunities to provide health and wellness services for people in Eastern Connecticut.
UCFS became a federally qualified health center “look-alike” in 2002, which allowed it to seek enhanced reimbursements for Medicare and Medicaid. It had tried three times in the past six years to shed its “look-alike” status. The full-fledged status proved elusive – until August.
That’s when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services granted UCFS full status as a federally qualified health center. Championing the cause at the state and federal level for the last eight years was U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District. This morning we congratulate Courtney, who will be honored this evening by UCFS as the recipient of the 10th Annual Palmer Davies Leadership Award in a ceremony at the Mohegan Sun.
Access to affordable health care has long been one of Courtney’s passions as an elected official at all levels, and UCFS is on the front lines of providing that. Courtney’s efforts in this matter, behind the scenes and without headlines, will positively impact thousands of lives in our region. It was born of hard work, patience and persistence, something that has defined Courtney’s tenure in Congress and something that is often in short supply in this world of instant gratification.
Courtney’s efforts, a major part of a long and arduous campaign shared by many, paves the way for $1.1 million in funding over the next two years that will be used to fill 24 full-time jobs, allow for a 34 percent increase in clients and help pay for a new school-based health center at Montville High School. About $200,000 in malpractice insurance costs will now be covered for UCFS. That means more dollars heading directly into the community – whether for medical, dental or behavioral care.
This morning we recall Benjamin Franklin’s quote to those who face adversity: “Energy and persistence conquer all things.” Courtney’s efforts are proof of that, and through UCFS those efforts will be felt in our community for many years to come.October 15th, 2015