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Report: Colorado Community Health Centers Key Economic Drivers

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In 2016, community health centers delivered comprehensive primary health care to more than 1-in-8 Coloradans. Since then, that number has grown to 1-in-7. (CCHN)
In 2016, community health centers delivered comprehensive primary health care to more than 1-in-8 Coloradans. Since then, that number has grown to 1-in-7. (CCHN)
 By Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO - Producer, Contact
September 18, 2018

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. — Colorado's community health centers not only provide top-notch care, they're also boosting state and local economies, according to new research. A report released today quantifies direct contributions, such as payroll and goods and services purchased from local businesses, as well as the economic ripple effects of those expenditures.

Ross Brooks is CEO of Mountain Family Health Centers, serving the I-70 mountain corridor and the Roaring Fork Valley.

"There are 20 community health centers that serve as the health care home for close to three-quarters of a million people,” Brooks said. “Those community health centers generate $1.2 billion in economic activity every year."

Building and remodeling projects at the health centers attract investment and other businesses to local communities, and the report also found that centers help attract and retain more residents.

The centers contributed $177 million in total local, state and federal tax revenue, and brought $114 million in federal grants to Colorado.

The state's community health centers put 5,300 Coloradans to work, and provide career paths for doctors, dentists, nurses, professional front-line staff and also IT techs and accountants. Pam McManus, president and CEO of Peak Vista Community Health Centers, said they provide critical workforce development through on-the-job training and formal certification programs.

"And especially in our rural locations, we're considered a major employer, which has a significant impact,” McManus said. “We always work to hire locally, and that's part of why we have training programs, to help support the local economy."

Brooks added that the centers help the state's overall economy in another way not documented in the report: by lowering health care costs. He said the "secret sauce” is prevention and primary care.

"By getting people the preventative care they need earlier on, and helping keep people out of the hospital unnecessarily,” he said. “That's a way in which we save significant taxpayer dollars and resources."

In 2016, the health centers delivered comprehensive primary health care to more than 1-in-8 Coloradans. Since then, that number has grown to 1-in-7.

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