The Washington Post

Connolly honored for community health center outreach

The National Association of Community Health Centers honored Rep. Gerry Connolly on Tuesday for his support of community health facilities across the state.

Connolly (D-Va.) received the award at the Greater Prince William Community Health Center, where he was surrounded by about 40 representatives from various nonprofits and health and wellness organizations.

“Gerry has been a real advocate for working families here in Prince William,” said Frank Principi, the health center’s executive director and a Prince William supervisor. “We are privileged to recognize his efforts on behalf of the many families and individuals who now have access to affordable, quality health care in their own community.”

Three years ago, the Prince William health center was strapped for cash and on the brink of closing its doors, officials with the center said. In 2009, Connolly helped secure a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that allowed the facility to stay afloat and eventually expand services to both the insured and uninsured in the community.

“The Greater Prince William Community Health Center and 100 other community health centers across the commonwealth fill an important void in health care for tens of thousands of hard-working Virginia families by providing lower-cost access to quality medical services,” Connolly said.

The Prince William health center was founded in 2004 and provides laboratory, family and internal medicine services, physical and well-woman exams, pharmacy assistance, prenatal, dental and behavioral health care.

The center, which nominated Connolly for the national award, was started when nearby hospital emergency rooms were overflowing and affordable health-care options in Prince William, Manassas and Manassas Park were scarce, officials with the center said. It is now the community’s only federally qualified health center.

The National Association of Community Health Centers was organized in 1971 to work with the more than 7,000 community facilities across the nation, according to the company’s Web site.

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