Patients served at community health centers have better access to services and improved health outcomes, a report released by the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) has found.
The improved outcomes occurred despite many patients experiencing social barriers and more complex health needs, underscoring the role health centers play in delivering care to vulnerable populations, including medically underserved Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders (AA&NHOPIs), the report’s authors said.
The report stated that despite facing multiple risk factors — 93 percent of AA&NHOPI patients served at health centers live in poverty, and one-third are limited English proficient — patients who received care at AA&NHOPI-serving community health centers had better health outcomes, including improved hypertension control and diabetes management.
“These findings demonstrate the value of health centers, especially those serving the diverse and fast growing AA&NHOPI population,” said Jeffrey Caballero, executive director of AAPCHO. “It is our hope that policymakers will recognize the importance of both clinical and non-clinical services, and of the key role health centers play in providing these services to those who need them most.
Teresita Batayola, CEO of International Community Health Services (ICHS), said the findings affirm community health centers’ vital role in improving the community’s health.
“Aside from providing medical and dental care, community health centers like, ICHS provide an essential safety net for many community members who may otherwise be left out, including interpretation, health education, and nutrition services,” she said, noting that ICHS community advocates, since 2013, enrolled more than 15,000 people to low-cost health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.
The report said AA&NHOPI-serving community health centers provide a significant amount of enabling or non-clinical services that help increase patients’ access to health care and hire more staff who are familiar with patients’ culture and primary language, despite being underfunded for these services, compared to health centers nationally.
AA&NHOPIs represent the fastest growing minority group in the United States, and make up an increasing number of patients seen at health centers. In providing high-quality, cost-effective care, including non-clinical enabling services, health centers save the U.S. health care system over $24 billion by reducing hospitalizations and emergency room visits.
A copy of the report is available at http://bit.ly/AAPCHO-AccessReport. AAPCHO will also be presenting the key findings of the report on a webinar scheduled for December 17, 2015.
For more information about ICHS, please visit: www.ichs.com
Founded in 1973, ICHS is a non-profit community health center offering affordable primary medical and dental care, acupuncture, laboratory, pharmacy, behavioral health WIC, and health education services. ICHS’ four full-service medical and dental clinics — located in Seattle’s International District and Holly Park neighborhoods; and in the cities of Bellevue and Shoreline — serve over 20,000 patients each year. As the only community health center in Washington primarily serving Asians and Pacific Islanders, ICHS provides care in over 50 languages and dialects annually. ICHS is committed to improving the health of medically underserved communities by providing affordable and in-language health care. For more information, please visit: www.ichs.com
AAPCHO is a national association of 35 community health organizations dedicated to promoting advocacy, collaboration, and leadership that improves the health status and access of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiian, and other Pacific Islanders in the United States. For more information on AAPCHO, please visit www.aapcho.org.