Washington’s community health centers (CHCs) are local, non-profit, community-owned health care providers serving low-income and medically underserved communities.
In 2014, CHCs were the health care home for 8177,824 individuals in Washington State based Community Health Centers:
- 21% of patients were uninsured (187,608)
- 57% of patients were on Medicaid (499,624)
- 35% of patients were under 19 (308,265)
CHCs are a positive and significant economic engine for Washington State. In 2013, Washington CHCs injected $692 million in operating expenditures directly into local economies. These expenditures produced additional indirect and induced economic activity of $620 million for an overall positive impact of $1.3 billion. In addition, CHCs directly generated 6,483 full-time jobs and supported an additional 4,040 jobs in other industries. 1
Washington’s health centers provide access to all patients that walk through the door, regardless of their ability to pay. The statewide network of CHCs:
- Reduce health care disparities. The majority of patients (68%) live at or below the federal poverty level and nearly one-half (49%) of their patients are visible minorities.
- Community Health Center staff in-person assisters enrolled nearly two-thirds of all Washington State uninsured patients into Medicaid. 2
- Provides a health care home for nearly 30% of the state’s Medicaid children (231,614).3
CHCs are part of the health care solution. More than 1 in 10 of all visits by Medicaid patients to Washington State emergency rooms could have been avoided.4 Community Health Centers work to reduce the non-emergent visits by providing health homes to their patients and actively engaging them in their care. From providing effective chronic disease management to patients and receiving evidence based clinical practice from their providers, CHCs deliver good health outcomes in their communities and are extremely efficient.
By zeroing in on conditions that significantly drive up costs - such as asthma, diabetes, and hypertension - health centers simultaneously improve patient health and control unnecessary spending. This model reduces the need for more expensive hospital in-patient and specialty care and produces significant savings for the health care system.
* Source Methodology 2014 UDS data is submitted by Washington State CHC’s:
• Total patient, demographic, and insurance data: 2014 data is from 24 of Washington’s Community Health Centers.
1 “The Economic Impact of Community Health Care Centers in Washington State” Capital Link Dec 2013
2. .CHC enrollments compiled by Health Benefit Exchange for the Medicaid program from October 2013 to October 2014.
3 Health Care Authority enrollment figures for the Medicaid program: 758,080 Total patients children 0-19 December 2014.