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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

GW Researchers Find Community Health Centers Experience Recent Surge in Patients Served

Community health centers in the United States have experienced major growth in the number of patients served, according to an analysis published by the Geiger Gibson/RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative based at the George Washington University (GW) Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH).

The brief was authored by Harold and Jane Hirsh Professor of Health Law and Policy, Ms. Sara Rosenbaum; associate professor, Dr. Peter Shin; senior research associate, Ms. Jessica Sharac; and assistant director, Ms. Rachel Gunsalus – all at Milken Institute SPH’s department of health policy and management.

The data show that community health centers, which care for the nation’s most medically underserved communities, experienced 33 percent patient growth from 2010 to 2016. The surge in patient growth held true for both states that expanded Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and states that did not. This finding speaks to the growing demand for community health centers and their services. The fact that the surge reached all states underscores the importance of the ACA’s health center fund, which Congress recently extended in its Balanced Budget Act, authors of the analysis say.

The research was supported by an ongoing gift to the Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health Policy by the RCHN Community Health Foundation. The Geiger Gibson Program’s primary mission is to eliminate medical underservice and disparities in population health and health care and improve public health and health care.

Read the brief, “Changes in Health Center Patients Served, 2010-2016.”