We Create Community Health

Iowa’s Community Health Centers: We Create Community Health

comm healthSince the 1970s, Iowa’s community health centers have responded to the unique needs of the patients and communities they serve. As non-profit, consumer-driven providers of medical, dental, behavioral health, and pharmacy services, community health centers work collaboratively with local partners to address barriers to care and health such as hunger, homelessness, and lack of transportation. Community health centers serve everyone. They provide care to all ages – from infants to the elderly – regardless of income or insurance status. With a focus on quality care and addressing the conditions that maintain and exacerbate illness, health centers are creating healthier communities in both rural and urban areas.

Iowa’s community health centers provide high quality, cost effective health care services to over 226,000 Iowans through over 800,000 annual visits at 47 full-service clinics and an additional 40 sites that include schools, nursing homes, homeless shelters, and other locations where special populations are served. In total, Iowans can access health care services at 86 sites statewide.

You can trust that you will receive high quality care from providers who truly care about you. Learn more about Iowa’s health centers and the impact we have on community health.

Health Innovators

Community health centers are at the forefront of the healthcare system in addressing social determinants of health, which can include lack of transportation, food insecurity, housing, etc. Community health centers provide enabling services – non-clinical services such as outreach, transportation, interpretation, case management, health education, and eligibility assistance – which lead to increased access to healthcare and improved health outcomes.

Iowa's community health centers have joined together to form IowaHealth+, a statewide network of community health centers that are demonstrating how primary care clinics can improve patient outcomes while reducing costs. With values rooted in patient engagement and empowerment, IowaHealth+ is a national leader in health care reform.

Community health centers are also working to fill gaps in care for Iowans. Through partnerships with the Veterans Administration, implementation of telehealth services, increased availability of behavioral health services, and expansion to underserved areas, community health centers are extending their reach to become Iowa's largest primary care network.

Ensuring Access for All

Community health centers welcome all. They provide care to all ages – from infants to the elderly – and regardless of income or insurance status. We also have staff that can help patients find affordable health insurance coverage options, and utilize a sliding fee scale to ensure affordability.

While these statistics can vary greatly in each community and often look different in urban versus rural areas:

  • 22% of health center patients statewide have private health insurance
  • 23% are uninsured
  • 46% have Medicaid
  • almost 70,000 are children.

Economic Impact

Community health centers provide high quality, cost effective care, saving the U.S. healthcare system over $24 billion annually. Iowa’s health centers also have a significant impact on local economies. In 2018, over 1,800 Iowans were employed at health centers.

Cost Effective Medicaid Providers

A study of 13 states found health centers each year save Medicaid on average $2,371 per person in total cost of care when compared to other providers. In Iowa, health centers have a 27% lower cost compared to traditional care. Community health centers are cost-effective Medicaid providers, serving 16% of all Medicaid beneficiaries in Iowa, but representing only 2% of the state's total Medicaid expenditures.

Focus on Special and Vulnerable Populations

Community health centers value diversity and inclusiveness, providing comprehensive, culturally-competent health care services. Focused populations include, but are not limited to, children, minority populations, pregnant women and infants, LGBTQ community, people with disabilities, persons living with HIV/AIDs, veterans, migrant and seasonal agricultural workers, individuals experiencing homelessness, and those living in public housing.

In 2019, 22% of patients were best served in a language other than English, 10,507 patients experienced homelessness, over 3,650 veterans received care, and 55% of patients identified as an ethnic or racial minority.

Wherever you are in life, community health centers are here to help you achieve your best health outcomes.