Patients Could Lose Care Access if Health Center Funding Expires
Millions of patients could face reduced access to care if federal funding for community health centers in California and other states is not renewed before it is set to expire in October, according to a policy report released Tuesday by the National Association of Community Health Centers, U.S. News & World Report reports.
Details of Report
The report noted that community health centers stand to lose about 70% of their federal funding in October. While discretionary funding would cover some of the centers' costs, the report projected that a shortfall in funding could lead to:
- 7.4 million patients losing access to care; and
- 57,000 health care workers losing their jobs.
The centers in 2013 served about 23 million Medicaid beneficiaries and other low-income individuals. They are expected to serve about 28 million by the end of 2015.
Community Health Centers Produce Savings
Dan Hawkins, senior vice president for public policy and research at NACHC, said that services provided by the centers save the health care industry about $24 billion annually (Leonard, U.S. News & World Report, 3/17).
According to the report, community health centers produce savings through shorter hospital stays and fewer emergency department visits.
For example, Medicaid managed care beneficiaries who receive care from community health centers in California have:
- 64% lower rates of multi-day hospital stays than other patients;
- 25% fewer inpatient bed days than other patients; and
- 18% lower rates of ED visits (NACHC report, March 2015).