How Do Community Health Centers Make a Difference?
Community health centers are located in communities with high medical need, high poverty, and few health care providers. Many of these communities also face financial, geographic, language, and cultural barriers.
Community Health Centers:
provide comprehensive primary health care services to all Alaskans, regardless of insurance status, and offer a sliding fee scale to patients without health care coverage
focus on improving the health of the entire community as well as the health of individuals
provide linguistically and culturally appropriate care to their community
perform assessments of health needs within the community and continually work to improve access to services
are accountable to the community by involving patients in governance of the center
Research studies demonstrate community health centers improve health by providing access to those patients least able to access quality primary care services. Additionally, community health is improved through preventative services and self-management programs, which lessen the impact of chronic disease and disability. Community health centers reduce unnecessary emergency room use and reduce hospitalizations by providing care in an appropriate setting.
Patients using community health centers have (compared to patients not seen in a community health center):
- lower total health care costs
- lower cost per ambulatory visit
- lower rates of hospital inpatient day
- lower inpatient care cost