Reasons Community Health Centers Are Awesome
Community health centers (CHCs) have been around for almost half a century, and many consider these facilities as the industry’s golden child. Also known as Federally Qualified Health Centers, these facilities are non-profit, community-directed health care providers that serve low income and medically underserved communities. With over 8,000 locations serving over 20 million patients, community health centers are out to reinvent the way millions of people access primary care.
And their efforts haven’t gone unnoticed: “Community health centers lift up rural and urban neighborhoods alike, extending community based, patient directed care to those who need it most,” said President Obama, during National Health Center Week this past August. “Through their work, health centers strengthen our health care system by helping reduce emergency room visits and easing health care burdens for families across America.” The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) rated community health centers as one of the most effective federal programs.
So, why is everyone so excited about community health centers? What makes them awesome? We’ve broken down the reasons below:
1.They offer a ton of services: In addition to preventive medical care, community health centers provide dental, behavioral, and pharmacy services, which are often not available at a physician’s office.
2.They increase access to health care (they serve the needy): In order for a community health center to be a Federally Qualified Health Center, it must be located in a Medically Underserved Area (MUA): that is, an area that has too few primary care providers, high infant mortality, high poverty and/or high elderly population. Community health centers must also be open to all residents, regardless of ability to pay. For the millions of un- and underinsured, CHCs offer affordable care that might otherwise be unavailable.
3.They think of the bigger picture: Community health centers don’t just treat individual health problems—they treat community health problems. By providing transportation, translation, case management, health education, and home visitation, CHCs tailor their services to fit the special needs and priorities of the communities they serve.