Community Health Centers: A Great Fit for Veterans

Community Health Centers (CHCs) have a long history of recruiting veterans to work at CHCs. CHCs recognize that veterans who have served in all branches of the U.S. armed forces possess unique skills indispensable to organizations that are in the business of finding innovative solutions—often in low-resource settings—to complex problems. Providing high-quality, fully integrated, and affordable health care services to Americans in rural and underserved areas is no easy feat, but CHCs have been taking on this challenge for over 50 years, and many Veterans have joined them. The unique challenges of improving health care access and delivery in underserved communities provides CHCs with a unique opportunity to be innovative in their practices, something that greatly appeals to professionals looking to build a career in a health care setting that is mission-driven and progressive, as opposed to uninspired and reactionary.

Veterans among the CHC workforce are prized employees, and the diverse range of skills and experiences that they bring to their organizations is unparalleled. Veterans who choose to work for CHCs after serving in the armed forces often find that skills they honed during their service—process improvement practices, organizational management, improvisation, teamwork, among many others—serve them well in a health care setting where the stakes are high (many patients have nowhere else to go to get essential care) and obstacles are numerous (many patients are uninsured or underinsured, lack transportation, or have other socio-economic factors that prevent or disable them from getting care). Moreover, the fact that the providers and staff who choose to work for CHCs do so in large part because they believe in the mission of community-based health care is something that resonates with veterans. A job with mission and purpose is not for everyone, but for those that choose this path the reward is high and the camaraderie is genuine.

In Colorado, CHCs employ veterans in many different roles from clinician providers, to nurses, to executive staff, to front desk and administration. Veterans with diverse backgrounds and training find fulfilling careers at CHCs. Additionally, CHCs are increasingly serving veteran patients, as the Veterans Choice Program has made it possible for rural and underserved veterans to receive high-quality, primary medical, dental, and behavioral health services at CHCs.

This month and ongoing we celebrate those who have served in the armed forces.