Since the nation’s first health centers opened in 1965, expansion of the federally-supported health center system to 1,200 organizations has created an affordable health care option for 23 million people. In providing health care to a population that couldn’t otherwise afford it, health centers provide a huge benefit to the greater American society:
- Highly efficient and cost-effective care, which reduces or eliminates the need for more costly care such as emergency room visits and avoidable hospital stays. This in turn generates significant savings to the entire health care system.
- Better preventive care, including screening, diagnosis and management of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, asthma, heart and lung disease, depression, cancer and HIV/AIDS.
- Reduce rates of low birth weight.
Health centers produce Medicaid savings by reducing unnecessary, avoidable, and wasteful use of health resources. As a result, health centers save the federal-state Medicaid program $6 billion annually.
Photo: courtesy AT Still University, Mesa, Arizona