Support Your Local Community Health Center

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , March 19, 2014

Trotter

Dan Hawkins
Senior Vice President for Policy and Research at the National Association of Community Health Centers

Dan Hawkins, senior vice president for policy and research at the National Association of Community Health Centers, believes that when community health centers provide effective and coordinated primary care everybody wins:

  • Patients get better care
  • Private practice physicians aren't constantly pressed to provide charity care or extended on-call hours
  • Hospitals' uncompensated care caseloads are reduced and they don't get dinged for readmissions
  • The public sees lower healthcare costs

"For all of those reasons health centers are good partners to other healthcare providers in their communities. They can help them better organize care and control costs and improve health outcomes," Hawkins says.

Hawkins says the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will extend healthcare coverage to millions of people. However, he says that the PPACA by itself will not address the challenges that tens of millions of people in this country have when they attempt to access healthcare. A report released this week by NACHC estimates that 62 million people nationwide have no access to primary care because of a shortage of such physicians.

Some basic stats on those affected:

  • 43% are low-income
  • 28% live in rural areas
  • 38% are racial/ethnic minorities
  • The vast majority of these medically disenfranchised Americans actually have insurance coverage; 22% rely on Medicaid and 58% have other insurance.
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