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 20 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.
- Reduced infant mortality by as much as 40 percent in communities served by a health center, and also reduce rates of low birth weight.
- Save the Medicaid program as much as 30 percent while still delivering high quality care to their low-income patients enrolled in Medicaid.
Photo: courtesy AT Still University, Mesa, Arizona