Just as Community Health Centers prepare to mark their 50th year of existence a new study emerges that shows how effective health centers were even in their earliest years. The new research has focused on when health centers were first funded from 1965 to 1974 and found that health centers sharply reduce mortality rates at a low cost.
“Mortality rates dropped 7-to-13 percent among individuals 50 and older after CHCs started operating,” said Martha Bailey, a research associate professor at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research in an article published by the University of Michigan. “CHCs also cut the mortality gap between the poor and nonpoor in that age group by 20-to-40 percent.”
The article notes that the most significant reductions were to death linked to cardiovascular problems. Health centers saved the lives of 81,644 individuals 50 and older during their first ten years of operation. The University of Michigan study was the first to focus on the long-term affect health centers have on mortality rates and to examine effects by age group, race and population density.