About 32 percent of Americans — more than 3 in 10– say they have put off health care for themselves or their family because they are worried about cost, according to a recent Gallup poll. Unfortunately, we know all too well that when these people finally do seek care, it is after their illness has progressed too far to ignore. That trend of “sick care” helps drive up health care costs. It doesn’t have to be that way. Health centers offer an approach to preventive care that is meaningful to patients, affordable, and easy to navigate and access — so they use it over and over again. As one health center professional recently wrote in the Huffington Post, “People who feel connected to their health care provider and have a continuity of care are more likely to be engaged in their own care… People connected to their providers tend to ask more questions, follow their doctor’s orders more thoroughly and generally feel they have more control over their own health.” And that leads to better health outcomes and, ultimately, lower costs.
Additionally, quality preventive medicine does not have to cost a lot of money. Although health centers provide services not typically furnished any place else, their costs run at least a dollar less per patient per day compared to all physician settings ($1.67 vs. $2.64), and far below the cost of a hospital stay. That’s less than a cup of coffee! Check out the breakdown on NACHC’s Fact Sheet.
When you do the math, health centers prove they are a solid return on the investment it takes to keep them running in communities.