Pictured from left are dignitaries and signors of Monday’s proclamation of National Health Center Week: State Senator Bret Allain, Franklin Mayor Eugene Foulcard, Baldwin Mayor Abel Prejean, Morgan City Mayor Frank Grizzaffi, Berwick Mayor Duval Arthur and Teche Action Clinic Ceo/Clinical CHO Dr. Gary Wiltz. The proclamations were signed at Teche Action Clinic in Franklin.
National Health Care Week Aug. 5-9
On Monday, Teche Action Clinic, along with Franklin clinic staff, St. Mary Parish’s local mayors, and State Senator Bret Allain, proclaimed the week of Aug. 5-9 as National Health Center Week.
Dr. Gary Wiltz, TAC CEO/Clinical CHO, related the history of community health centers in America.
“Community health centers are now celebrating their 54th year of existence in the United States,” Wiltz said. “It was a movement that began out of the ‘War on Poverty’ of 1965 with President Lindon Johnson. And out of that movement, he created Medicare, Medicaid, Community Action Head Start and community health centers.
“Now, nationwide, we (CHC’s) are serving close to 30 million people. One of every 12 Americans are getting their care from a community health center.”
Wiltz said that TAC, having begun in 1974, is the oldest community health center in Louisiana; and he forecast an upcoming 45th birthday celebration for the clinic, in November.
He said that when he joined the clinic in 1982, the staff numbered seven and the operating budget was “about $100,000.”
Comparing the 1982 state of the clinic to present conditions, Wiltz said, “Now, we are located in 7 parishes, serving 30,000 people with an operating budget of about $22 million, and we employ about 210 people.”
The proclamations were signed by the dignitaries, and with the closing remarks of appreciation from all parties, the occasion concluded.