Community Health Centers Could Save Health Care System Up To $17.6B

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Community health centers provide health care services to 16 millionU.S. residents, save the health care system between $9.9 billion and$17.6 billion, and contribute $12.6 billion to the economy, accordingto a report prepared by the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care, the National Association of Community Health Centers and Capital Link, the Salt Lake City Deseret Morning News reports. Currently in the U.S. there are 1,100 such centers, which are not-for-profit, community-owned and federally funded.

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Thereport states, "People who have a usual source of care but no healthinsurance actually receive more primary and preventive care than thosewho have insurance but no usual source of care." It continues, "Notsurprisingly, those who have both fare best."

Legislationpending in Congress would reauthorize funding for community healthcenters and also set funding targets that would increase access tohealth care through the centers for 30 million additional U.S.residents.
"Quite simply, community health centers are thebest health care investment America can make," Stephen Petterson,senior health policy researcher at the Robert Graham Center, said. Headded, "Medical expenses for their patients are 41% lower compared topatients seen elsewhere. ... Even to those of us who follow health careclosely, the figures are stunning" (Collins, Deseret Morning News, 8/7).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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