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National Health Center Week 2022: Community Health Center Values

 
National Health Center Week, an annual celebration to raise awareness of the accomplishments of community health centers, will be held August 7-13. Join us in celebrating how health centers provide care to all patients, regardless of ability to pay!
 
National Health Center Week (NHCW) is an annual celebration to raise awareness of the mission of community health centers and recognize their accomplishments. As NHCW 2022 approaches, we are reflecting on how health centers ensure access to affordable care for their patients. 
 
Who is cared for by community health centers? 
By mission and law, community health centers care for all patients, regardless of whether those patients have health insurance or can afford to pay for care. Community health centers accept all patients, but disproportionately care for folks with low-incomes and who are uninsured or have insurance through Medicaid, known as TennCare, or Medicare.  

Tennessee's health centers care for more than 415,000 patients per year, 69% of whom have incomes below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and 88% of whom have incomes below 200% of the FPL.1 The FPL for a family for an individual in 2022 is $13,590 and $27,750 for a family of four.2 The uninsured rate of health center patients varies by center and is as high as 62% in some health centers.3 On average in Tennessee, 31% of health center patients are uninsured.4 Tennessee's health centers care for 16% of the state's uninsured population.5 

Thirty percent of Tennessee's health center patients are covered by Medicaid (TennCare), the federal insurance program for certain low-income adults, and nearly 14% are covered by Medicare, the federal insurance program primarily for adults 65 and older.6 Tennessee's health centers care for 8% of the state's Medicaid beneficiaries.7  
 
How do health centers ensure access to affordable care? 
Community health centers do not deny any patient care due to their inability to pay. For patients who are uninsured or underinsured, health centers use a sliding fee scale based on income and household size. Health centers also employ folks who can help patients determine their eligibility for not only the sliding fee scale and help patients review public and private insurance options and enroll if they are eligible.   
 
How You Can Help
Community health centers ensure no one goes without care simply because they can't afford to pay. Health centers have always cared for people who may not be able to obtain care otherwise, but their mission is especially critical during times of economic uncertainty and stress such as during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Become a health center advocate today to ensure that folks can continue to access affordable health care close to home!  
 
 
 
[1] Tennessee Health Center Program Uniform Data System (UDS) Data. (2022). Retrieved from https://data.hrsa.gov/tools/data-reporting/program-data/state/TN
[2] Poverty Guidelines. (2022). Retrieved from https://aspe.hhs.gov/topics/poverty-economic-mobility/poverty-guidelines
[3] Ibid.
[4] Tennessee Health Center Program Uniform Data System (UDS) Data. (2022). Retrieved from https://data.hrsa.gov/tools/data-reporting/program-data/state/TN
[5] Community Health Center Chartbook 2022. (2022). Retrieved from https://www.nachc.org/research-and-data/research-fact-sheets-and-infographics/2021-community-health-center-chartbook/
[6] Tennessee Health Center Program Uniform Data System (UDS) Data. (2022). Retrieved from https://data.hrsa.gov/tools/data-reporting/program-data/state/TN 
[7] Community Health Center Chartbook 2022. (2022). Retrieved from https://www.nachc.org/research-and-data/research-fact-sheets-and-infographics/2021-community-health-center-chartbook/
 

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