How important are community health centers?
According to the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), 1 in 12 patients – 29 million people – will utilize a community health center, or federally qualified health center (FQHC) in 2020. “FQHC’s offer key primary care services at a low cost often for low-income patients or patients who otherwise face challenges accessing care.” FQHCs have provided the foundation for Medicaid’s expansion included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and have been instrumental in bringing primary care services to all patients. These facilities hold a key to expanding healthcare in rural areas with their typically smaller footprint and lower costs.
Let’s talk numbers:
- The estimated number of patients for 2020 (29 million people) has increased from the 27.2 million patients in 2017. Between 2017 and 2018, FQHCs treated a total of 1.2 million more patients.
- Nearly 6.4 million patients treated by a FQHC do NOT have insurance; 13.7 million patients are covered by Medicaid.
- About 1.4 million of the FQHC’s patients are homeless and 385,000 are veterans.
- Nearly 558,000 patients with a documented substance abuse disorder, including opioids, visited a FQHC between 2017 and 2018.
- In 2017, FQHC’s generated $54.6 BILLION in revenue, a figure expected to increase in the coming years with the increase in patients visiting the centers.
FQHCs save the United States’ health care system $24 billion annually. The Lower Health Care Costs Act is awaiting action and is set to reauthorize FQHCs for 5 years of funding, create FQHC partnerships and address the social determinants of health.
ACE understands that relying on government funding is not sustainable long term and that FQHCs need to achieve financial independence to remain an asset to their communities.
We specialize in assisting FQHCs expand their practice by optimizing revenues from billing, 340B pharmacy models, and other growth strategies that, if implemented, attain financial stability.