This study assesses the potential cost savings associated with the use of community health centers, based on econometric analyses of the 2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. After controlling for health status, health insurance coverage, income, age, and other factors, this study finds that patients who receive a majority of their ambulatory care at community health centers have significantly lower annual overall medical expenditures (24%) and ambulatory expenditures (25%) than those who do not. These results are consistent with other studies indicating that, by providing good quality primary care, community health centers can reduce the utilization of other medical services.
Preventive Medicine and Biometrics, Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, Maryland (Dr Richard); and Department of Health Policy, School of Public Health and Health Services, the George Washington University, Washington, DC (Drs Ku, Dor, and Shin, Mrs Tan and Rosenbaum).
Correspondence: Leighton Ku, PhD, MPH, Department of Health Policy, School of Public Health and Health Services, George Washington University, 2021 K St NW, Ste 800, Washington, DC 20006 (Leighton.email@example.com).
Dr Richard formerly worked at the Department of Health Policy, the George Washington University, Washington, DC, when the study was done.
This project was supported by the Geiger Gibson/RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative. Also, the authors thank Kate Buchanan, formerly of the George Washington University, for research assistance.
The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.