We have written extensively on this blog about the cost-savings that Community Health Centers produce for U.S. healthcare system ($24 billion a year, by the way). Now comes a new report from the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers which shows that the Commonwealth’s 49 health centers generate annual savings of more than $1 billon for Massachusetts. The $1.1 billion in savings is tied directly with the impact health centers have in reducing emergency room visits, hospital stays and the need for higher-cost specialty care among patients. Also, the more health centers expand to meet growing demand for their services (they have added more than 295,000 patients since 2006 thanks to federal and state health reform), the bigger their economic punch as employers and economic engines that produce tax revenue for the state.
“This report demonstrates that health centers provide significant value far beyond just the communities in which they are located,” said James W. Hunt, Jr., president and CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers. “For the first time, we are able to quantify the critical role health centers play in the economic health of Massachusetts. At a time when state leaders are looking for savings and wise investments, Community Health Centers can demonstrate that they are powerful economic drivers.” The analysis was conducted by Capital Link. A link to the report can be found here.
Numbers tell an important story about the value of health centers. A case in point: $11 of total economic activity is generated for every $1 of federal funding invested in health centers, according to this new infographic by NACHC. That health centers have also been trusted stewards of tax payers dollars and delivered returns on the federal investment is no small reason why lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle have called for continued funding of the program in the face of a looming funding cliff.
House lawmakers recently voted by an overwhelming bipartisan majority of 392-37 to pass H.R. 2, which stabilized funding for an additional two years for health centers, as well as for programs to train and recruit health center clinicians. Unfortunately, the Senate left for their scheduled two week recess without voting on H.R. 2, leaving final passage of the bill into law in limbo. Stay tuned to this blog so we can keep you posted once the Senate returns from recess.