Health Center Program: Impact and Growth

Over its 55-year history, the Health Center Program has grown from two health centers to nearly 1,400 health centers operating approximately 13,000 service delivery sites in every U.S. state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Basin.

Health centers have more than tripled the number of patients served in the last 20 years. In 2019, there were more than 252,000 full-time health center providers and staff serving nearly 30 million patients, regardless of their ability to pay.

Nearly 30M people, that is 1 in 11 in the U.S. rely on a HRSA-funded health center for care, including : 1 in 8 children, 1 in 5 rural residents, 1 in 3 living in poverty, 1 in 5 Medicaid recipients, more than 398K veterans, more than 885K served at school-based health centers, more than 1M agricultural workers, more than 1.4 homeless

Since 2000, the number of patients served at HRSA-funded health centers has nearly tripled. 2000: 9.8M, 2018: 29.8M

Number of full-time providers at health centers: 2017: 223,840, 2018: 236,150, 2019:252,867

In 2019, health centers saw nearly 8 million mental health patients. Currently, the majority of health centers provide mental health counseling and treatment, and more than two-thirds provide substance use disorder services.

Last year, health center providers screened 11.5 million patients for depression* *Patients who screened positive received a follow-up plan. Depression screening increased 60%.  2016: 7.2M 2019: 11.5M

In 2019, health centers screened and identified nearly 1.3 million people for substance use disorder and provided medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to close to 143,000 patients nationwide. This represents a 120% increase in MAT patients since 2017.

In 2019, HRSA-funded health centers provided more Medication Assisted Treatment to patients with Substance Use Disorder.  More than 120% increase: 2017: 64,597, 2018:94,540, 2019:142,919

HRSA-funded health centers have played an important role in combatting the opioid epidemic, implementing the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative, and most recently providing testing and care for those affected by COVID-19, while continuing to provide quality primary health care services for the nation’s underserved. As of early August, health centers had administered more than 2 million COVID-19 tests.

Since 2015, health centers have increased the number of HIV tests given by 87%. HIV tests given at health centers: 2015: 1.4M, 2019: 2.7M

HRSA-funded health centers have provided over 2 million COVID-19 tests.

Health centers are more than just numbers. At the heart of the Health Center Program are the thousands of primary care providers, nurses, dentists, health educators, social workers, and all the wonderful staff who dedicate their lives to assuring patients have access to quality health care regardless of their ability to pay.

Date Last Reviewed:  August 2020