Through research and evaluation, we examine new ways to support the Health Center Program in providing high quality and cost-effective care to historically medically underserved communities. This includes assessing the impact of specific policy or program shifts in access, quality, cost of services, and health equity. We also provide insight into emergent federal healthcare priorities.
Products and Resources
Visit the Health Center Library to find current peer-reviewed articles that describe innovative promising practices, evidence-based interventions, quality improvement programs, and program evaluations relevant to health centers.
View briefs, fast stats, and other resources that highlight ongoing health center research and evaluation activities.
Access to Care
- Health Center Capacity in Rural Maternity Care Deserts (PDF - 373 KB)
Growing evidence shows maternal care disparities in the U.S., such as rural counties that lack obstetrician-gynecologists, certified nurse midwives, and hospitals that provide obstetric care, known as maternity care deserts. A new analysis explores the role of HRSA-funded health centers in helping to address rural access to maternity care.
- Role of Health Centers in Providing Medication-Assisted Treatment (PDF - 327 KB)
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is increasingly shown to be effective in treating opioid use disorder and reducing mortality. A new study explores geographic areas that most depend on health center providers for MAT.
- HIV Testing and Health Center Patients
HRSA-funded health center patients are more likely to receive HIV testing than the general population.
Quality of Care
- Exploring Health Center Geographic Variation of Colorectal Cancer Screening and the Impact of COVID-19 (PDF - 214 KB)
COVID-19 has disrupted access to health care services, and research suggests that an increased number of patients are foregoing critical preventive care such as cancer screenings. This brief explores colorectal cancer screening rates for Health Center Program awardees in 2020 in comparison to 2017-2019, with a focus on geographic variation in rates. This analysis can help target resources in order to mitigate long-term consequences of missed screenings among the most vulnerable populations.
- Comparison of Clinical Quality Measures for Appalachian and Non-Appalachian Health Centers (PDF - 279 KB)
A new analysis explores differences in quality measures between Appalachian health centers and health centers outside of Appalachia. Learn how health centers within the Appalachia regions exhibit performance on par or better than non-Appalachia regions.
- Diabetes Brief (PDF - 500 KB)
Learn more about the proportion of health center patients diagnosed with diabetes, as well as health center patients with uncontrolled diabetes by race and ethnicity, trends of uncontrolled diabetes among health center patients as compared to national averages, and the five most common health center patient diagnoses.
Cost of Care
- Health Center Care Use and Spending (PDF - 858 KB)
Learn how health centers saved Medicaid nearly $2,300 per patient in total annual healthcare spending.
- Identifying COVID-19 Mortality and Social Deprivation Hot Spots and Exploring Opportunities for Health Center Response (PDF - 168 KB)
This analysis identifies U.S. counties with high levels of social deprivation that also have high rates of COVID-19 mortality or are located in COVID-19 mortality hot spots. The research brief also identifies health centers located in these counties in order to identify opportunities for increased preventive care and targeted outreach.
- Identifying Health Centers in Areas with Low Rates of Vaccine Confidence and High Rates of Unvaccinated or Incomplete Vaccination (COVID-19) (PDF - 228 KB)
This brief identifies health centers located in U.S. counties with low rates of COVID-19 vaccine confidence and complete COVID-19 vaccination and explores the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of these counties in order to inform vaccine outreach efforts.
- Understanding Health Center and Patient Needs in Climate Crisis: Building Sustainable Systems of Support for the Future (PDF - 1 MB)
This paper summarizes a series of focus group discussions held with leaders and staff from a subset of health centers and offers recommendations for training and technical assistance to support the preparation, recovery, and resilience of health centers when faced with future climate change-related emergencies.
Data Tools and Sources
Health Center Patient Survey
Explore the Health Center Patient Survey (HCPS) data to gain a rich and detailed portrait of patients’ experience with the care and services they receive at HRSA-funded health centers. Data from the 2014 HCPS, including a downloadable public use file (PUF) and interactive data dashboard, are available on the HCPS page. Data is being collected for the HCPS and will be available when finalized.
Uniform Data System (UDS)
Each calendar year HRSA Health Center Program awardees and look-alikes are required to report a core set of information, including data on patient characteristics, services provided, clinical indicators, utilization rates, costs, and revenues. View the Health Center UDS Data page to learn more. Access the UDS Mapper tool to run geographical analyses based on UDS data.
Health Center COVID-19
As part of COVID-19 emergency response efforts, health centers fill out a survey to help track the impact of COVID-19 on health center operations, patients, and staff.