WASHINGTON and New York – A new issue brief from The Kaiser Family Foundation’s Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, co-authored by Commission staff and researchers at the George Washington University’s Geiger Gibson/RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative, examines the role of health centers in national health reform and the issues that will affect health center expansion to meet the growing need for primary health care.

Celebrating their 45th year, health centers have grown from their early roots as a small demonstration program in 1965, into the nation’s largest commitment to primary health care for medically underserved populations.

“Health centers’ role in creating access to high quality primary health care is integral to the success of national health reform, and the Medicaid and health insurance expansions under the Affordable Care Act are central to the success of the health center expansion effort,” said Julio Bellber, President and CEO of the RCHN Community Health Foundation.

Community Health Centers: Opportunities and Challenges of Health Reform describes the provisions of the Affordable Care Act that will help determine the growth and success of health centers in the coming years, including expanded coverage for low income populations, direct financing to establish and expand health centers in the communities in which they are needed, and new health workforce investments, particularly in the National Health Service Corps. The report also reviews the key opportunities and challenges that health centers will face, including recruiting and retaining qualified health professionals, moving toward greater health system integration to promote access to the full range of health care, and joining with other key community stakeholders to achieve prevention and public health gains.

The report can be accessed here.

About the RCHN Community Health Foundation
The RCHN Community Health Foundation (RCHN CHF), is a New York based not-for-profit operating foundation whose mission is to support community health centers through strategic investment, outreach, education, and cutting-edge health policy research. The only foundation in the country dedicated to community health centers, the Foundation develops and supports programmatic and business initiatives related to community health center needs, building on a commitment to the provision of accessible, high quality, community-based healthcare services for underserved and medically vulnerable populations. For more information on RCHN CHF, visit www.rchnfoundation.org.

About The George Washington University Medical Center
The George Washington University Medical Center is an internationally recognized interdisciplinary academic health center that has consistently provided high-quality medical care in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area since 1824. The Medical Center comprises the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, the 11th oldest medical school in the country; the School of Public Health and Health Services, the only such school in the nation’s capital; GW Hospital, jointly owned and operated by a partnership between The George Washington University and a subsidiary of Universal Health Services, Inc.; and The GW Medical Faculty Associates, an independent medical practice with nearly 550 physicians in 47 clinical specialties. For more information on GWUMC, visit www.gwumc.edu.