Community health centers across the United States saw an expansion of service sites and patient visits from 2013 to 2016. Due to an increase in the insured patient population, health centers were more fully compensated, and therefore, able to improve their financial position to support this growth.

Capital Link’s newly release report, Federally Qualified Health Centers Financial and Operational Performance Analysis, 2013-2016, provides an aggregate profile of financial and operation trends of community health centers, nationally. The report identifies strengths, challenges, and opportunities for performance improvement within these functions, which health centers can then use to develop a framework to review their individual practices and support change. 

The report uncovered interesting findings, including statistics related to growth and expansion, productivity and utilization, financial measures, and quality of care. Most notably:

  • There was significant growth in both patients and visits over the four-year review period. Health centers were busy in 2016, providing services to nearly 26 million patients and conducting over 104 million visits. This was a major increase from 21 million patients and 85 million visits in 2013.

  • There was a substantial shift in insurance coverage over the review period. Uninsured patient rates dropped from 34% of patients in 2013 to 21% in 2016, while Medicaid coverage increased, from 34% of patients in 2013 to nearly 45% in 2016.

  • Patient growth and an improved payer mix were partially responsible for a 47% increase in revenue from 2013-2016, with health centers bringing in $24 billion nationwide in 2016.

  • Productivity declined across several functions over the four-year period, likely due to changes in care models and clinical practices. Physician visits and mental health visits per provider experienced the largest declines at -7% and -6%, respectively.

  • Health centers experienced a 18% increase in cost of care for both patients and visits. Averaging approximately 6% per year, it was slightly higher than the rate of increase in physician and clinical expenditures.

  • An overall look at health center financial stability from 2013-2016 found that 75% of health centers operated in a steady environment, while 25% operate under fragile financial conditions.  

The analysis also looked at health center quartiles to examine strategies of high performers for replication, and areas of improvements for low-performers. The report was developed with support from the Health Resources and Services Administration.   

To access this new resource, please click here.

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