Home Landmark Study Confirms Medicaid Cost-Savings at Health Centers 24% Lower

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Landmark Study Confirms Medicaid Cost-Savings at Health Centers 24% Lower

Posted: 15-Oct-2016

September 23, 2016 - JACKSON, Miss. – A new study confirms significant Medicaid cost-savings among patients at Community Health Centers. The study, recently released online, will be published in the November issue of the American Journal of Public Health. Authors analyzed Medicaid claims data for both health center and non-health center patients in 13 states, and found that health centers save, on average, $2,371 (or 24%) in total spending per Medicaid patient when compared to other providers. The study focused on Alabama, Colorado, California, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, North Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Mississippi, West Virginia, Connecticut, and Montana, making it one of the largest multi-state studies of its kind. Researchers found that health center Medicaid patients had lower utilization and spending than non–health center patients across all services studied, including:

  • 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.

In 2015, Mississippi Community Health Centers (MS-CHCs) served 94,255 Medicaid and CHIP enrolled patients with primary health care services. Janice Sherman, CEO at the Mississippi Primary Health Care Association notes, “Mississippi has approximately 775,000 people who are enrolled in Medicaid/CHIP. This study shows that our community health centers are able to impact Medicaid savings on average of $2,300 a patient compared to non-health centers. This is a testament that our community health care centers are impacting Mississippi health outcomes at a lower cost – especially when it comes to Medicaid. Mississippi Community Health Centers should be the first choice for enrolled Medicaid/CHIP patients for primary health care.”

Mississippi Community Health Centers provide care to approximately 300,000 patients within 190 sites throughout Mississippi’s underserved communities. Medicaid/CHIP enrollees make up 32.7% of patients served at clinics across the state.

“This study confirms with hard data what has long been assumed – that Community Health Centers’ unique model of care leads directly to significant cost savings in the Medicaid program. It adds to the wealth of research documenting the tremendous cost-savings that health centers generate across the health care delivery system for a comparatively modest federal investment,” said Dan Hawkins, Senior Vice President for Policy and Research at the National Association of Community Health Centers. “Health centers deliver results through the effective management of primary care and chronic disease management, and today’s study shows those results in the form of 24% lower total spending. At a time when the whole health care system is focused around expanding access and improving quality while controlling cost, the implications for policymakers are enormous.”

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins University, the University of California at Irvine, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Health Resources and Services Administration. The abstract can be found by visiting the American Journal of Public Health. Community Health Centers care for 25 million people nationwide, including more than 1 out of every 6 Medicaid beneficiaries. Nearly half (49 percent) of all health center patients rely on Medicaid to cover their care yet, Medicaid payments to health centers make up only 1.6% of total Medicaid spending.

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