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Celebrating America’s Health Centers and Healthier Communities

Aug. 22, 2014

As the health care system changes around us, more people are gaining access to health care coverage - yet there are still more than 60 million Americans who do not have access to primary care. According to the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), nearly half (42 percent) of these individuals are low-income, 28 percent live in rural areas—and do have insurance.

That’s where Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) come in. In the United States, more than 1,200 Centers receive grants under Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act (PHS) (i) and serve 22 million patients (including more than 920,000 farmworkers and 1,145,000 people who are homeless) at 9,000 locations (ii). The FQHCs qualify for enhanced reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid, as well as other benefits as long as they assist underserved populations, offer a sliding fee scale, provide comprehensive services, and have an ongoing quality assurance program and a community-based governing board of directors.

UnitedHealthcare helps support Health Centers through a broad network of dedicated health care specialists and hospitals – and the need is great; one out of every 15 people living in the United States seeks primary health care from a Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA)-funded Health Center. As part of our partnership with FQHCs, UnitedHealthcare regularly seeks advice and input from FQHC leaders through our National FQHC Advisory Group; participates in the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) industry conferences; collaborates with local Primary Care Associations (PCA) and, during National Health Center Week each year, takes time to recognize our nine-year involvement and shared mission to help people live healthier lives regardless of their age, income or ability.

Together with our FQHC partners, UnitedHealthcare helps provide access to high-quality care, and lowers taxpayer burden and unnecessary costs to the system in the form of $24 billion in savings annually through reduced hospitalizations and visits to the ER (iii).

Health Centers maintain a more than 45-year record of being ranked among the highest-quality and cost-effective care providers in the nation - a proven model that has delivered better access and cost-savings, and provided jobs and helped people live healthier lives (iv).

While we celebrated National Health Center Week with centers across the country, we are thankful for each and every one of our partners and the commitment we share to help people access the quality health care services they deserve.

i. http://www.hrsa.gov/healthit/toolbox/RuralHealthITtoolbox/Introduction/qualified.html
ii. http://www.nachc.com
iii. http://www.healthcenterweek.com/about-us.cfm
iv. http://www.hrsa.gov

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