Celebrating National Health Care Week By Grant Whitmer on August 13, 2017 in Community Health News This year’s theme for National Health Center Week (August 13-19, 2017) is: “Celebrating America’s Health Centers: The Key To Healthier Communities”. During this week, we should take the time to reflect on how critically important Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) are to communities and specifically how important CHCRR is to the health care system. To that end, I offer the following facts: Community Health Centers serve over 25 million Americans at more than 9,000 delivery sites in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and U.S. territories. In Vermont FQHCs provide care to more than 1 in 4 Vermonters, including more than: 1 in 3 Vermont Medicaid enrollees 1 in 3 Vermont Medicare enrollees 1 in 5 commercially insured Vermonters 1 in 2 uninsured Vermonters At CHCRR, together we are able to provide almost 140,000 patient visits to just under 38,000 patients annually. In 2016, CHCRR saw 37,425 of the total 59,736 or 63% of residents in Rutland County and over a two year period, CHCRR saw over 75% of the residents in Rutland County. To put further context to these numbers, the 37,425 patients seen at CHCRR in 2016 represents 5.99% of the total population of Vermont. A little more than 1 in every 17 Vermonters entrusted CHCRR to provide their care in 2016! “Celebrating America’s Health Centers: The Key To Healthier Communities” In addition to the total number of patients served at CHCRR, it is also important to note that 26.96% of our patients have household incomes below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level and 57.28% have household income below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. Approximately 35% of CHCRR patients have Medicaid or are uninsured. These statistics demonstrate not only the large primary care footprint that CHCRR has in our service area, but also the critical role we play as a “safety net” provider for patients with limited financial means. Another significant fact is that FQHCs actually save money. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health of Medicaid Claims, in 13 states including Vermont, confirms total cost of care for health center patients was collectively 24% lower (13% lower in VT specifically). The study also showed: 22% fewer specialty care visits 33% lower spending on specialty care 25% fewer inpatient admissions 27% lower spending on inpatient care 24% lower total spending I am proud of the truly amazing impact that CHCRR has on the health and well-being of our patients – who just happen to also be our friends and neighbors!