Menendez kicks off National Health Center Week at Project H.O.P.E.

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez helps ring the bell to kick off National Health Center Week. - PROJECT HOPE

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez kicked off National Health Center Week at Project H.O.P.E.’s health fair on Monday.

As a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee that sets national health policy, Menendez has long supported expanding health care for all Americans. Menendez underscored the importance of fully funding Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), which offer a wide range of high-quality health care services in communities throughout New Jersey.

“I cannot think of anyone more rooted in the city of Camden or more responsive to the needs of its most vulnerable residents than Patricia DeShields and her entire Project H.O.P.E. team. Project H.O.P.E.’s doors are open to all, whether they are struggling with mental health or substance abuse disorders, or looking for cost-effective prenatal, pediatric, and primary care, or struggling with homelessness and have nowhere else to turn,” said Menendez in a statement.

“We’ve seen community health centers use the historic investments provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to reach more patients than ever before and, in the coming years, I want to see community health centers across America grow even deeper roots in our towns and cities,” Menendez said.

In New Jersey, 24 community health centers operate 135 sites, providing preventive and primary health care services to nearly 600,000 New Jerseyans, according to Project H.O.P.E.

Project H.O.P.E. is an FQHC and provides primary health care, behavioral, and substance abuse treatment to low-income communities and the homeless population. Over the past 26 years, Project H.O.P.E. has laid the groundwork and led the way in providing accessible medical care to vulnerable populations in the Camden region. More than 6,000 individuals are served each year at its West Street Health Center and satellite locations – Cathedral Kitchen, Joseph’s House, and Volunteers of America – via their mobile health van.

“Project H.O.P.E., together with Community Health Centers across the nation, is excited and proud to celebrate National Health Center Week 2019. Since their birth in the 1960s, Community Health Centers have been leaders in the movement to identify and address the impact of environmental and social factors on health and well-being. Community Health Centers have a long history of reaching beyond the traditional medical model of care to address housing, nutrition, care management, mental health and substance use in the primary care setting. We know that our success in managing chronic disease in vulnerable communities is a result of our integrated care models, the care coordination we provide to every patient and our focus on community,” said Patricia DeShields, chief executive officer of Project H.O.P.E. Inc.

New Jersey Primary Care Association (NJPCA) is an advocate for community health centers as well as a provider of comprehensive education, training and technical assistance to New Jersey’s 24 FQHCs.

Earlier this year, Menendez joined colleagues in introducing legislation to bolster community health centers and expand access to vital health care services for hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans. In 2018, the senator secured an additional $1.6 billion in CHC funding on top of the $7.8 billion appropriated for Fiscal Year 2018 and 2019.

Anthony Vecchione
Anthony Vecchione covers health care for NJBIZ. You can contact him at:

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Menendez kicks off National Health Center Week at Project H.O.P.E.