Washington’s community health centers (CHCs) are local, non-profit, community-owned health care providers serving low-income and medically underserved communities.
In 2013, CHCs were the health care home for 810,099 individuals in Washington based Community Health Centers:
- 44% of patients were on Medicaid (353,762)
- 34% of patients were uninsured (278,155)
- 37% of patients were under 19 (298,431)
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 (70%) at CHCs live at or below the federal poverty level and more than one-half (51%) of their patients are visible minorities.
- Serve the rising number of uninsured in Washington. Between 2003 and 2013, uninsured patients at CHCs increased significantly (58%).*
- Provides a health care home for nearly one-third of the state’s uninsured, including 30% of the state’s uninsured children (33,750). 2
CHCs are part of the health care solution. In 2006, the Washington State health care system wasted $355 million in avoidable emergency room visits. These non-emergent visits could have been treated more cost effectively at a CHC. 3
From chronic disease management to evidence-based clinical practice, CHCs deliver good health outcomes 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 2013 UDS data is submitted by Washington State CHC’s:
• Total patient, demographic, and insurance data: 2013 data is from all 26 of Washington’s Community Health Centers.
• Comparison of Uninsured Data: 2003-2013 data is from the 22 members required to report at that time.
• All Patient Insurance Status data 2003-2013: Numbers include 22 original WACMHC members in 2000, expanded to all 26 current Community Health Centers in Washington
1 “The Economic Impact of Community Health Care Centers in Washington State” Capital Link Dec 2013
2. .Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE) 2012 Uninsured estimates: 933,196 Total patients 100,147 Children 0-19 https://www.census.gov/did/www/sahie/index.html
3 “Access to Community Health and Wasted Expenditures on Avoidable Emergency Room Visits: Summary of Findings, 2006.” NACHC, Sept. 2006