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Cuts to Community Health Centers Hit Rural Americans Hardest

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, March 21, 2012

He says rural hospitals and other providers should view community health centers not as competitors, but as partners in delivering care. Frequently, hospitals can provide transportation to care, or make home healthcare visits to better monitor patients, or translator services.

"Health centers don't exist to compete with hospitals. They exist to cooperate and partner with hospitals," he says.

For example, health center clinicians are required to follow their patients into the hospital as part of the continuum of care. "That means for a rural hospital [that] additional clinical staff will be adjunct, but with admitting privileges," he says.

While 40% of health center patients are uninsured, the remaining 60% of patients do have some form of coverage, "so for the bulk of patients who rural health centers serve there is a payer source for those patients if they need to be admitted or they need an MRI," he says.

"Secondly, because the health centers are there and generate business for hospitals, they have literally helped to keep hospitals open and they've done the same for nursing homes," he says. "They are often adjunct staff for rural nursing homes who will visit patients in the hospital to provide care and they help to keep things functioning."

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2 comments on "Cuts to Community Health Centers Hit Rural Americans Hardest"


Mark (3/22/2012 at 6:57 PM)
Health centers are "an integral part of the health care system because they provide care for the low-income, for the newly arrived, and they take the pressure off of our hospital emergency rooms." ~ George W Bush

Kevin Stuckey (3/21/2012 at 1:55 PM)
Based upon the assumption that government exists to serve society, this is a classic example of one of two failures in government "leadership": 1st - creating a dependent sector of society by eroding the free-market incentives that make it financially viable make healthcare services available and 2) eliminating the necessary financial resources that partially address the initial failure (#1 above). The ultimate result is an increasing population that becomes MORE dependent upon the government as resource provider. If we are blind to that fact, ultimately we are destined to be wards of the State. Welcome to ObamaCare!