Community Health Center Facts
More than 9,800 community health centers across the nation meet the primary health care needs of nearly 25 million people. They provide quality, affordable services to one in 14 Americans, including those who are low-income working families, those who are medically underserved, and those who are at risk for various health conditions. Community health centers – because they welcome anyone, regardless of their ability to pay or their insurance status – provide a safety net for people who might otherwise have trouble finding affordable health care.
Community health centers fill a great need. Even with the Affordable Care Act, and the requirement that all Americans have health insurance, there are still many people who are uninsured, or underinsured. In addition, 62 million people don’t have access to a primary care physician because of physician shortages.
While community health centers provide affordable health care to the patients they see, they also have a big impact on the country’s overall health care costs. Community health centers offer patients an opportunity to get routine check-ups and regular follow-up care. This reduces the number of expensive emergency room visits and hospitalizations. The ability of community health centers to focus on preventive care and medical management of patients’ conditions improves the general health of the communities they serve, and reduces the overall cost of health care. It is estimated that this savings to the nation’s health care system is $24 billion annually!