The city of Portland should be proud that many decades ago it created Positive Health Care, a public health clinic that helped those with HIV/AIDS at a time when there were few safe places they could go for treatment and care. The city also stepped up to the plate and opened the needle exchange program when there were no other options. Today, however, that is no longer the case.

We know health care has changed dramatically. We now have Obamacare, which is our first attempt as a nation to offer health care insurance to everyone. Obamacare looks to federally qualified health centers, such as the Portland Community Health Center, to be part of the health care system.

Today, best practice in health care includes access to a primary care physician, electronic medical records and a patient-centered medical home with coordination of mental health services, dental care and specialty care when needed.

The Portland Community Health Center is just such a place. They offer all this to anyone with insurance and without.

Based on their performance and top scores on a recent federal review of their services, they have received additional federal funds. Times have changed, and so must medical care.

I applaud the city of Portland for exploring the whole issue of who best provides health care in our community, and I think the city deserves great praise for starting medical services that now can be turned over to the Portland Community Health Center. It’s a public partnership that makes sense for all.

Nancy Kelleher

former board member, Portland Community Health Center