What is a Community Health Center?
Since the nation’s first health centers opened in 1965, expansion of the federally supported health center system to over 1,400 organizations has created an affordable health care option
for more than 29 million people. Health centers help increase access to crucial primary care by reducing barriers such as cost, lack of insurance, distance, and language for their patients. In doing so, health centers — also called Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) provide substantial benefits to the country and its health care system.
America’s health centers:
- Provide highly efficient and cost-effective care, generating $24 billion in savings for the health care system annually.
- Increase access to timely primary care, playing a role in reducing costly, avoidable emergency department (ED) visits and hospital stays. The average cost for a health center medical visit was less than one-sixth the average cost of an ED visit in 2012.
- Deliver a broad array of primary and preventive care services, including screening, diagnosis, and management of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, asthma, heart and lung disease, depression, cancer, and HIV/AIDS.
- Reduce mortality, health disparities, and risk of low birth weight with the care they deliver.
- Offer numerous enabling services such as transportation, translation, case management, and health education in order to ensure their patients are receiving the care they need.
Learn more about health centers:
- View our Community Health Center Brochure (2021)
- View our infographic: America’s Health Centers: A Snapshot (2021)
- Visit the Community Health Center Chartbook, our annually updated publication that uses graphics and charts to describe who health centers serve, how health centers meet their communities’ needs, health center growth and remaining challenges, and how health centers make an impact.