Community Health Centers And Medicaid At 50 An Enduring Relationship Essential For Health System Transformation
Author: Peter Shin, Jessica Sharac, Sara Rosenbaum
Community health centers reach their fiftieth anniversary in 2015, along with Medicaid. Health policy makers have understood the programs’ symbiotic connection from the earliest days of their implementation. Medicaid’s expansion and growth have made the modern community health center program possible, while health centers represent one of the principal sources of primary care for the nation’s Medicaid population. With their shared mission and high level of interdependence, Medicaid and community health centers are essential for continued health system transformation in medically underserved communities nationwide—for example, by implementing delivery system reforms aimed at increasing clinical integration and improving efficiencies and by becoming medical homes for high-risk patients. Achieving this transformation will depend on the ability of community health centers and Medicaid to understand and respond to the challenges that each faces, while fully deploying the strengths that each has to offer.