Government Agency Navigation

Women's Health USA 2013 An illustrated collection of current and historical data, published annually.

Women Served by Community Health Centers

Narrative

Administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Bureau of Primary Health Care, Community Health Centers (CHCs) are a nationwide network of clinics that provide comprehensive primary care services, regardless of the ability to pay.1 Some health centers also target services to specific populations, such as homeless persons and migrant workers.

In 2012, Federally-supported CHCs served 21.1 million people, of whom 9.0 million were adult women aged 18 and older. Women served by CHCs tend to be younger than the general population. More than half of women (57.5 percent) served by CHCs were of reproductive age (18–44 years) compared to 45.9 percent of all women nationally.

In 2012, 92.6 percent of CHC patients had incomes at or below 200 percent of poverty, 61.6 percent were racial or ethnic minorities, 36.0 percent were uninsured, and 40.8 percent were Medicaid insured.2 As a critical access point for the uninsured, CHCs will be pivotal to the success of the Affordable Care Act in helping to enroll and care for newly insured patients and continuing to serve those who may remain uninsured, including immigrants and low-income individuals in States that do not expand Medicaid.3

CHCs have a 45-year record of providing high-quality care that has helped to reduce health disparities.4 Despite serving a low-income, mostly uninsured or publicly insured population, rates of recommended breast and cervical cancer screening among women seen at CHCs are similar to national averages for all women. In 2009, 74.5 and 85.2 percent of female CHC patients reported having received recommended breast and cervical cancer screenings, respectively, similar to 73.1 and 81.2 percent of all U.S. women. Moreover, women who were either publicly insured or uninsured and seen at CHCs were more likely to have received screenings than comparable women nationally. For example, fewer than half of uninsured women received recommended mammography screening (41.7 percent) compared to 3 out of 5 uninsured women seen at CHCs (62.0 percent).

1 Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Primary Health Care link leaves hrsa.gov site. What is a Health Center? Accessed 09/06/13.

2 Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Primary Health Care link leaves hrsa.gov site. Health Center Data. Accessed 09/06/13.

3 Kaiser Family Foundation link leaves hrsa.gov site. The Uninsured: A Primer. October 2012. Accessed 09/06/13.

4 Politzer RM, Yoon J, Shi L, Hughes RG, Regan J, Gaston MH. Inequality in America: the contribution of health centers in reducing and eliminating disparities in access to care. Med Care Res Rev. June 2001;58(2):234-48.

Back to top

Graphs

Data

Women Aged 18 and Older Served by Community Health Centers Compared to All U.S. Women, by Age, 2012
Age Group Percent of Women, Women Served by Community Health Centers Percent of Women, All U.S. Women
Source: Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Primary Health Care, Uniform Data System. Table 3A - Patients by Age and Gender – 2012. Available upon request OQDrequest@hrsa.gov; U.S. Census Bureau, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population. Accessed 09/05/13.
18-24 Years 16.1 12.4
25-44 Years 41.4 33.5
45-64 Years 32.4 34.4
65 Years and Older 10.1 19.7
Receipt of Recommended Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening* Among Women Served by Community Health Centers Compared to All U.S. Women, by Health Insurance Coverage,* 2009
Screening Type and Coverage Percent of Women, Women Served by Community Health Centers Percent of Women, All U.S. Women
*Based on U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations of biennial mammography for women aged 50–74 years and a Pap smear every 3 years for women aged 21–65 years; CHC data are from the 2009 CHC Patient Survey; U.S. data are from the 2008/2010 National Health Interview Survey.
**Private coverage includes persons with any private insurance, either alone or in combination with public coverage; public includes those covered only by government programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, military plans, and state-sponsored health plans.
Source: Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Primary Health Care, Community Health Center Patient Survey, 2009. Analysis conducted by the Bureau of Primary Health Care. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey, 2008/2010. Analysis conducted by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
Mammogram, Private Insurance 86.2 79.2
Mammogram, Public Insurance 79.8 68.0
Mammogram, Uninsured 62.0 41.7
Mammogram, Total 74.5 73.1
Pap Smear, Private Insurance 85.1 85.8
Pap Smear, Public Insurance 89.8 79.3
Pap Smear, Uninsured 78.8 65.1
Pap Smear, Total 85.2 81.2