"Thirdly, health centers have formed partnerships to secure other kinds of funding for home health agencies and visiting nurses and other kinds of partnerships with hospitals," he says. "So whether it's from a business perspective, from a let's-keep-the-doors-open perspective, or a partnership perspective there are many reasons why rural hospitals should support the opening or rural health centers."
The NACHC report notes that rural counties with community health centers had 25% fewer uninsured in the emergency room for ambulatory care sensitive conditions, compared with counties without a health center.
"Most importantly even if that rural hospital has an emergency room, who wants to see it crowded with people who don't need to be there but they don't have anywhere else to go?" Hawkins says.
The study also found that community health centers generate about $5 billion annually to rural communities through employment and supplier purchases.
It is hard to say if Congress or the White House would respond to a concerted effort by rural healthcare providers to call for the reinstatement of funding levels for community health centers.
But it's not a hard argument to make or to grasp. Rural healthcare providers should make the case for community health centers even if our elected representatives seem immunized against calls for logic and common sense.
It's in everyone's best interest.