Health Center Program: Impact and Growth

Over its 50 year history, the Health Center Program has grown from two health centers to nearly 1,400 health centers operating more than 10,400 sites in every U.S. state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Basin.  


For millions of Americans, including some of the most vulnerable individuals and families, health centers are the essential medical home where they find services that promote health and diagnose and treat disease and disability.  In 2015, health centers employed nearly 190,000 people and served over 24 million patients.  One in 13 people nationwide rely on a HRSA-funded health center for their preventive and primary health care needs.

Despite serving a population that is often sicker and more at risk than the general population, health center quality of care equals and often surpasses that provided by other primary care providers.

  • Over 93% of HRSA funded health centers met or exceeded at least one Healthy People 2020 goal for clinical performance in 2015.
  • More than 68% of health centers are recognized by national accrediting organizations as Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH) - an advanced model of patient centered primary care that emphasizes quality and care coordination through a team‐based approach to care.    


Through HRSA’s investments in new health centers and new sites, as well as expanded and integrated services – including oral health, mental health and substance abuse services, construction and renovation of existing health center sites, outreach and enrollment, quality improvement, and health information technology - more patients and communities each year have access to high quality, comprehensive primary care.

From 2008 to 2015, Health Center Program funding enabled health centers to respond to the need for affordable, high quality, comprehensive preventive and primary health care services in a growing number of underserved communities.   

  • During this timeframe, the number of new health centers supported by HRSA increased by 27% and health centers increased the total number of patients served by 42% - that’s over 7.2 million additional patients.   
  • In 2015 alone, HRSA provided funding for almost 430 new health center sites and increased access to care for more than 1.8 million additional patients.