Community Health Centers Don't Have Capacity to Expand, Study Finds

Community Health Centers Don't Have Capacity to Expand, Study Finds

Few of the nation's community health centers have the resources to handle a significant increase in new patients, a study conducted by the and and finds.

The report, (11 pages, PDF) found that fewer than one in five clinics report they would be able to increase their patient caseload by 25 percent over the next year. The findings suggest that community health centers — which play a major role in providing publicly funded reproductive health care, including family planning services, to women living in low-income and medically underserved communities — would be challenged to fill the service gaps created if Planned Parenthood were excluded as a Medicaid or Title X provider, as the Trump administration and congressional leadership has proposed. In 2016, nearly one-third of all low-income women of childbearing age obtained care at a community health center.

According to the report, between 2011 and 2017 the proportion of sites offering onsite long-acting contraception at community health centers rose from 36 percent to 63 percent for contraceptive implants and from 56 percent to 64 percent for hormonal IUDs. Over the same period, however, the share of centers that dispense oral contraceptives onsite fell from 61 percent to 51 percent.

The report also found that fewer than half the community health centers in the U.S. provide onsite emergency contraception, while only 11 percent provide onsite access to the seven most effective family planning methods, the standard for high-quality family planning care, with centers that receive Title X funding considerably more likely to provide a wider range of onsite contraceptive services and follow the evidence-based best practices for high-quality family planning care currently required by the Title X program.

"." Kaiser Family Foundation Press Release 03/15/2018.