New Study: Community Health Centers Hold Answer to Health Care Cri$i$

New Study: Community Health Centers Hold Answer to Health Care Cri$i$

Report Highlights Huge Cost Savings, Impact on Local Economy


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Washington, DC–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–August 8, 2007–Community Health Centers are a bright spot in the public health debate, providing high-quality care while controlling costs and pumping money and jobs into the national economy, said a new report released this week on a national press conference call with leading experts on community health care.

The new study found that Community Health Centers not only provide care to 16 million Americans, but do so while saving money in health care costs and generating substantial economic benefit in some of the neediest communities. Access Granted: The Primary Care Payoff was conducted by the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), The Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care and Capital Link.

“Quite simply, Community Health Centers are the best health care investment America can make,” said Stephen Petterson, Ph.D., Senior Health Policy Researcher at The Robert Graham Center. “Medical expenses for their patients are 41 percent lower compared to patients seen elsewhere – $1,810 per person annually. Even for those of us who follow health care closely, the figures are stunning.”

“If Congress invests in Community Health Centers today, an estimated 30 million Americans could have access to their high-quality care by the year 2015, resulting in health care savings of between $22.6 and $40.4 billion annually, said Dan Hawkins, Senior Vice President for Policy and Programs of NACHC.”

The study also found:

— Nationwide, the Community Health Centers save the health care system between $9.9 and $17.6 billion.

— Community Health Centers have an overall economic impact of $12.6 billion, and produced 143,000 jobs.

— If Congress invests in Community Health Centers today, these figures would rise to an estimated total economic impact of $40.7 billion and over 460,000 full-time equivalent jobs in 2015.

“Community Health Centers take great pride in providing a ‘health care home’ that delivers quality and strengthens our community,” said Virgilio Licona, M.D., Associate Medical Director of Plan de Salud del Valle, Inc., Colorado. “Our patient-centered and high quality care reduces reliance on expensive emergency rooms. With Community Health Centers, you get the best of both worlds: better care with higher quality at a lower cost. You can’t beat that.”

“Community Health Centers continue to be a vital part of our country’s health care system and this study confirms that. In most instances, Community Health Centers are staffed by family physicians and provide care in some of the country’s most underserved communities. They do so while also contributing significantly to the local economy. We hope Washington is paying attention,” Allison Coleman, Chief Executive Office of Capital Link

Community Health Centers started over forty years ago to deliver primary health care services to the medically underserved. There are over 1,100 Community Health Centers, serving more than16 million people at over 6,000 sites located throughout all 50 states and U.S. territories. Community Health Centers never turn anyone away for care – regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. They are local, non-profit, community-owned and federally-supported. The study is being released as part of National Health Center Week 2007, which runs from August 5 through the 11th.

About The Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care

The Robert Graham Center conducts research and analysis that brings a family medicine perspective to health policy deliberations in Washington. Founded in 1999, the Center is an independent research unit working under the personnel and financial policies of the American Academy of Family Physicians. For more information, please visit http://www.graham-center.org.

The information and opinions contained in research from the Robert Graham Center do not necessarily reflect the views or policy of the AAFP.

New Study: Community Health Centers Hold Answer to Health Care Cri$i$