04 Sep Health Centers are a Major Contributor to Local Economies Everywhere
September 30 marks the end of the fiscal year, and the deadline for Congress to renew the Community Health Center Fund. Without a bill passing Congress and being signed by the President by the end of the month, health centers risk losing access to the vital funds that allow them to continue their mission of providing affordable, accessible, high-quality care to local communities across the nation.
Throughout the month of September, we will be discussing the importance of health centers and their contributions to local communities throughout the United States.
The end of the summer is here: schools are back in session, the days are getting shorter, and we’re taking a moment to celebrate the American workforce, including those who work hard every day to support the overall success of health centers in communities all over the United States. According to recent estimates, Community Health Centers have created over 405,000 jobs in communities across the country.
Health centers employ over 236,000 people of all skill and education levels, including health professionals, administrative, facility and support staff. Connections between the American workforce and health center programs go far beyond the walls of health center sites themselves. For example, a health center’s purchase of supplies can spur a company to expand and hire more employees. Health center employees may also leave work to buy lunch at a local restaurant, encouraging economic growth in multiple areas of the community. According to recent estimates, every $1 invested in health centers generates $5.73 in economic activity throughout the nation, and also creates thousands of jobs outside of health centers. In other words, Community Health Centers cause a localized butterfly effect.
The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and the Teaching Health Centers Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) program also play a significant role in expanding the health center workforce. NHSC and THCGME work closely with Community Health Centers to provide qualified primary care professionals in areas with limited access to health care, while also allowing medical students to train in health centers, encouraging them to stay in the field as they continue in the medical profession. A recent study cited that 54% of the roughly 11,000 NHSC clinicians nationwide practice in Community Health Centers. The majority of those practitioners involved in the NHSC and the THCGME programs continue to work with health centers well beyond their completion of the programs’ required term.
The numbers don’t lie. Health centers are a vital part of the local economic engine in communities across the country – they add fuel to the workforce and present communities with primary care options to which they would not otherwise have access. Long-term federal funding from Congress is a necessity for health centers to continue their mission and support a diverse and robust health workforce in communities around the nation.
Make sure your Members of Congress know how important Health Centers are to you and your community. Click here to send a personalized message urging them to pass long-term funding now.