Community health centers (CHC) are present to provide primary care and a health care home for those who are uninsured or underinsured. These health centers provide a return on investment from the Affordable Care Act of 2010.
According to the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), by 2015, the amount of patients that receive care from CHCs will double to about 40 million. The expansion of CHCs nationwide will save our health care system about $122 billion from now until 2015. We will see the savings in the following ways:
- fewer amount of emergency room visits, saving $55 million for the Medicaid program
- $20 billion in local business generated within the health centers’ neighborhoods
- Improved cared – Health centers meet or exceed nationally accepted practice standards for treatment of chronic conditions
More information from the NACHC report shows that – “Health center’s Medicaid payment is intended to cover their comprehensive services, including dental, mental health, and pharmacy, as well as their programmatic requirements to provide programs that facilitate access to care and motivate healthy behaviors, such as care management, insurance enrollment assistance, transportation, translation, and health education. These services keep patients out of the emergency room and help prevent hospitalizations.”
The return on investment is clear, and not only are the quantifiable outcomes significant but also the indirect returns will be seen. A healthier community will provide a healthier economy. Providing primary care and a health care home gives citizens stability in their lives and allows them to focus on their jobs and raising their children.
With the start of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 we will see 32 million uninsured citizens gain coverage through Medicaid and private insurance; however, Health Center expansion is needed before 2014. You can help by spreading awareness about HealthNet‘s network of community health centers or learning how to get directly involved here.