Currently serving 23 million patients, federally qualified community health centers generated about $20 billion in total economic benefits and produced more than 189,000 jobs in the nation's poor rural and urban areas in 2009 from $2.2 billion in federal investment, a new report shows (PDF).
Impact of community health centers highlighted
The National Association of Community Health Centers—which will begin its annual national conference in Washington on Wednesday—released a new report showing health centers operate in more than 8,000 locations and provide one-quarter of all primary-care visits for the nation's low-income population.
“Sixty million people are in communities with physician shortages and without healthcare resources, so the need is great,” Michelle Proser, the association's director of research, policy and programs, said at a briefing on Capitol Hill Tuesday. Proser also said recent growth in community health center patients—which doubled in number to 20 million in 2009 from 10 million in 2000—is on track to double again in just five years.
But that growth depends on continued federal investment, which includes funding in the health reform law, and also discretionary funding, which is at risk because of proposed cuts in the House's long-term spending bill to fund the government for the rest of 2011. The government is currently operating under a short-term resolution, so those cuts have not been realized.
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