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Impact of the Health Center Program

The federal government funded the first neighborhood health centers in the 1960s. Since then, the Health Center Program has grown to become a key part of the nation’s health care system.

Health centers combine medical, dental, mental health, substance use, and other services. They focus on the needs of each patient, and they make sure their providers work together to provide the best care.

Who health centers serve

In 2022, more than 30.5 million people used HRSA-funded health centers for care. This included:  

  • 1 in 9 children 
  • More than 24.2 million uninsured, Medicaid, and Medicare patients 
  • More than 9.6 million rural residents 
  • Nearly 1.4 million people without homes
  • Nearly 1 million farm workers 
  • More than 952,000 patients at schools 
  • More than 395,000 Veterans 

About 90% of these patients had income less than 200% of the federal poverty level.

How health centers answer the call

Health centers are on the front lines of the opioid crisis. In 2022 they provided:

  • Substance use disorder services to 299,000 patients
  • Medications for opioid use disorder to nearly 194,000 patients

People who need mental health care rely on health centers. In 2022 health centers:

  • Provided mental health services to 2.7 million patients
  • Screened more than 70% of teen and adult patients for depression

As part of the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative, health centers help to prevent, diagnose, and treat HIV. In 2022 they:

  • Screened more than 3 million patients
  • Linked 82% of those newly diagnosed with HIV to care within 30 days

How we make health care better

We invest to improve health care quality. We want health centers to lead in primary care.

Why we support the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) model

  • We’ve helped 78% of health centers gain PCMH status.
  • To gain PCMH status, health centers must:
    • Focus on the needs of each patient
    • Show ongoing efforts to improve quality
    • Providers work together and communicate closely
  • The PCMH model improves care for chronic illness, preventive care, and patient safety.
  • It also leads to higher satisfaction for patients and providers, and it lowers costs.

What advantages health centers have

  • Health center patients have better outcomes at lower cost. This is true even though health centers treat people who are sicker and have lower income.
  • When they receive care at a health center, patients make less use of more costly care choices, such as emergency rooms and hospitals.
  • According to the most recent Health Center Patient Survey, 97% of patients would recommend their health center to family or friends.
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