Study: Mass. health centers save state more than $1B annually

BOSTON – The Commonwealth’s 49 health centers generate an annual savings of more than $1 billion for Massachusetts because they help reduce emergency room visits and hospital stays, according to the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers’ economic impact analysis.
“This report demonstrates that health centers provide significant value far beyond just the communities in which they are located,” James W. Hunt Jr., president and CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, said in a statement.
The association represents and serves the needs of community health centers, which provide primary and preventive care to approximately 900,000 predominately low-income Massachusetts residents.
“For the first time, we are able to quantify the critical role health centers play in the economic health of Massachusetts. At a time when state leaders are looking for savings and wise investments, community health centers can demonstrate that they are powerful economic drivers,” he said.
Conducted by the nonprofit Capital Link, the analysis primarily relied on the federal government data used to review the operation and performance of health centers, including information on their costs, revenues and patient utilization rates.
“Nationally, patients who depend on health centers have significantly lower expenditures per person per year than do non-health center users,” Allison Coleman, Capital Link’s founder and CEO, said in a statement. “In Massachusetts, the $1.1 billion in savings is directly linked to the impact health centers have in reducing emergency room visits, hospital stays and the need for higher-cost specialty care among patients. Locally accessible, high-quality health care makes a real difference.”
The analysis shows that in 2013, Massachusetts health centers helped generate nearly $1.86 billion in operating expenditures for their local economies. In addition, Massachusetts health centers generated $80.5 million in state and local tax revenue in 2013.
The report also said that health centers are often the largest employer in communities and purchase goods and services, as well as stimulate businesses such as restaurants, pharmacies and retail stores. In 2013, Massachusetts health centers directly generated 8,777 full-time jobs and supported 5,527 jobs in other local industries.

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