Massachusetts community health centers will join with health centers from across the country to demonstrate their value to patients, communities and the larger healthcare system during National Health Center Week, August 13 – 19.
One of the bright spots in America's healthcare system, community health centers serve more than 25 million Americans and have compiled a significant record of success that includes:• Producing $24 billion in annual health system savings; • Reducing unnecessary hospitalizations and unnecessary visits to the emergency room; • Treating patients for a fraction of the average cost of one emergency room visit; • Maintaining patient satisfaction levels of nearly 100 percent; and • Serving more than one in six Medicaid beneficiaries for less than two percent of the national Medicaid budget.
In Massachusetts, health centers continue to meet the growing demand for their primary care services, having added 400,000 new patients since the implementation of health reforms launched in 2006 by the Commonwealth, and in 2010 by the federal government.
Today, Massachusetts health centers:
- Serve nearly one million people (1 in 7 state residents);
- Generate a total economic impact of $1.6 billion as significant regional employers and local purchasers of goods and services;
- Support 12,000 full-time jobs at health centers and in other industries;
- Bring more than $112 million in annual federal funding for health centers to Massachusetts;
- Save the Commonwealth almost $1billion annually by helping to lower the number of avoidable emergency department visits and hospitalizations, and by decreasing patients' reliance on specialty care; and
- Generate significant value to the state Medicaid program: community health centers serve 21% of state beneficiaries and account for only 1.8% of total state Medicaid expenditures.
Community health centers prevent illness and foster wellness in unique populations, producing innovative solutions to the most pressing healthcare issues in our communities. From providing some of the nation’s first HIV services, to pioneering models of care for patients suffering with chronic illness, to expanding treatment for patients suffering with addiction, Massachusetts health centers continue to meet the never-ending challenge of providing access to care for people who, without community health centers, might not have it.
What's more, Massachusetts community health centers go beyond the provision of medical care to address the underlying social and economic factors that influence patients' overall health and well-being, such as mental illness, homelessness, and a lack of access to nutritious food. Programs that integrate patients' physical and mental health, as well as initiatives like fitness and wellness centers, farmers markets, career training institutes, cooking demonstration kitchens, charter schools and even patient hiking trails located behind a health center in Western Massachusetts - all seek to broaden the definition of what it means to deliver high-quality, patient-centered care.
There are NHCW events scheduled across the country and in Massachusetts, including health fairs, visits by members of Congress and state officials to local health centers, press conferences, back-to-school drives, community breakfasts, patient appreciation events, free health screenings and much more.
To learn more about NHCW and to see a listing of events, please visit www.massleague.org and follow the League on Facebook and on Twitter, @MassLeague. National Health Center Week is supported by the National Association of Community Health Centers.