Safety-net clinics poised to play critical role in aftermath

Hurricane Ian neared Category 5 strength earlier today, with winds over 150 miles per hour off the western coast of Florida.

Several Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), which provide primary preventative care to everyone regardless of their ability to pay, sit in Ian’s projected path. Over 1 million patients are currently in Ian’s path. For many people, FQHCs are their only source of healthcare, except for emergency departments – which is also the case during and after natural disasters.

“In many communities, after a hurricane, the local private sector won’t be ready to open their doors. FQHCs have a mission to meet their community needs immediately. They need to be open right away if people need a place to go… for the uninsured and elderly, it’s the only place to go, except for the ER, which is the worst place to go,” said Andrew Behrman, president & CEO of the Florida Association of Community Health Centers, which counts 54 FQHCs among its members.

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