FJ Celebrates National Health Center Week!

This week, we celebrate National Health Center Week. Community health centers serve a vital role in the health and well-being of millions of people across the United States through the provision of affordable, high-quality preventative care.  Today, on agricultural worker health day, we want to highlight the important role of migrant health centers to the health of our nation’s agricultural workers and their families.

The barriers to health care access in farmworker communities are numerous: lack of transportation, fear due to immigration status, lack of health insurance, poverty, lack of sick leave, and cultural and linguistic barriers, among others. Migrant health centers tailor their services to the health care needs of agricultural workers and their families. Many health centers have mobile clinics that bring clinicians at hours that are convenient, such as nights and Sundays. Outreach workers and promotores de salud (lay health workers) provide health education to community members and help workers access the health center, make appointments, enroll in health insurance, etc. In addition, health centers provide services on a sliding fee scale so low-income patients who are uninsured or underinsured pay a discounted rate based on their income and family size.

There are 174 migrant health centers. Together, they served 972,251 agricultural workers and their families in 2017 (source: HRSA UDS 2017).  In many agricultural worker communities, migrant health centers are the primary source of health care. Yet only approximately 20% of the nation’s workers and their family members are seen by health centers. To increase access and utilization of health care services, FJ partners with national, state, and local organizations to promote collaboration between health centers and other farmworker-serving organizations, such as Migrant Head Start and legal services organizations.  As a HRSA National Cooperative Agreement, we developed materials to increase community awareness of health centers and promote access to health care. These materials, available in Spanish, English, and Haitian Creole are on FJ’s website.

Farmworkers and their families deserve health care that is affordable, accessible, and culturally competent. Farmworker Justice is pleased to celebrate Agricultural Worker Health Day and support health centers’ mission to provide high quality health care to farmworkers and others underserved populations.