Compared to doctor offices and other providers, community health centers lower the cost of children’s primary care by approximately 35 percent, according to an analysis published by researchers at the Geiger Gibson/RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative at George Washington University’s (GW) Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH).
Many children served by these health centers are poor and entitled to unusually broad coverage with no cost sharing through Medicaid’s early and periodic screening diagnosis and treatment (EPSDT) benefit. But despite the comprehensive range of services community health centers offer, children who receive the majority of their care at health centers incur substantially lower average annual costs than those who receive care in other settings.
The analysis is the first to show that community health centers (CHCs) provide care for children at a significant savings and builds on previous research, which showed that CHCs reduce overall medical costs for adults while providing comprehensive, high-quality care.
“Health centers not only keep costs down but also report good health outcomes,” said Dr. Leighton Ku, Director of the Center for Health Policy Research at Milken Institute SPH. “Community health centers find efficiencies that reduce costs for ambulatory care and prescription medications.” Dr. Ku authored the new report along with Mr. Brian Bruen, lead research scientist and lecturer in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Milken Institute SPH.GW