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Community Health Centers Save Medicaid 24%

Analysis  |  By John Commins  
   September 21, 2016

An analysis of claims data finds that health centers save, on average, $2,371 in total spending per Medicaid patient when compared to other providers.

A sweeping multistate study led by University of Chicago researchers validates what many public health advocates have known for years: Community Health Centers are a tremendous value.

The study, which will appear in the November issue of American Journal of Public Health, analyzed Medicaid claims data from 13 states for health center and non-health center patients, and found that health centers save, on average, $2,371 (or 24%) in total spending per Medicaid patient when compared to other providers.

The savings came primarily from lower utilization and spending across key drivers of healthcare costs, including:;

  • 22% fewer hospital visits
  • 33% lower spending on specialty care
  • 25% fewer hospital admissions
  • 27% lower spending on inpatient care
  • 24% lower total spending

Dan Hawkins, senior vice president for Policy and Research at the National Association of Community Health Centers, calls the study "absolute validation of not only our own sentiment and belief in the value and effectiveness of health centers, but also a validation of studies done earlier using older Medicaid data, and studies going all the way back to the 1970s."

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John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.


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