The number of patients using community health centers will nearly double from the current 23 million to about 40 million by 2015, the National Association of Community Health Centers estimates.
Services provided at the 8,000 centers nationwide are delivered at lower-than-average costs compared with other sources of care. Based on Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality data, the average cost per patient per day in a health center is $1.67, which is lower than the per day cost estimates for all physician settings ($2.64), emergency rooms ($3.64), hospital outpatient ($7.59) and hospital ($41.36).
Community health centers are estimated to save $1,263 per person per year when compared with other types of care delivery, the report noted. Overall, health centers save about $24 billion annually, with this amount expected to increase to $122 billion in total healthcare costs as the number of centers expand through 2015.
However, much of the growth in the centers – and their related savings – will depend on continued federal investment and discretionary funding, says Michelle Proser, the National Association of Community Health Centers’ director of research.
For more information:
- Read the National Association of Community Health Centers report
Grants available for Community Health Centers