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The Health Center Program: The President's Health Center Initiative


Increasing Access to Health Care in the Nation's Most Needy Communities

Launched in 2002, the President's Health Center Initiative aimed to significantly increase access to primary health care services.

In just five years, the Initiative's goal has been achieved: new or expanded Health Center sites in 1,200 communities.

Through this Initiative, investments in the Health Center Program have nearly doubled — growing from a little more than $1 billion in FY2000 to the nearly $2 billion it is today — and Health Centers have experienced an unprecedented period of sustained expansion and quality improvement. Data from 2007 point to how successful this effort has been in increasing the numbers of people served and expanding services across the board.

The President's Health Initiative; U.S. map showing distribution of 1,200 new or expanded Health Centers, 2002-2007

  • Health Centers cared for more than 16 million patients in 2007, an increase of more than 5.8 million over 2001.
  • A total of 2.8 million patients received dental services in 2007, more than twice as many as in 2001.
  • A total of 617,000 patients received mental health care in 2007, more than three times as many as in 2001.

High Poverty Counties

The President's Health Center Initiative also sparked the High Poverty County Presidential Initiative, which is extending the benefits of health center care to the hardest-to-penetrate, poorest areas of the country. The first grants under this new initiative were announced in August 2007. Some are grants to existing grantees to expand satellites into neighboring poor counties and others are to entirely new grantees.
  • 80 High Poverty Grants plus 25 Planning Grants will establish new access points in low-income counties.
  • Health center sites will exist in more low-income counties than ever before.
  • Some 300,000 people in some of the poorest communities in the country will gain access to primary health care, many for the first time.
Health Care images

HHS Marks Expansion of 1200th Health Center, Meeting Key Bush Goal (press release, December 5, 2007)

Meeting the Health Care Needs of Uninsured and Underserved Americans (White House Fact Sheet, December 5, 2007)

Health Care Center for the Homeless, Inc. is the only health care provider for people who are chronically homeless in the streets and woods of Florida's Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties. Martha, a patient who had been homeless for many years, had trouble finding a job because she was missing several front teeth.

Our recent expansion of oral health services allowed us to treat more patients and offer more restorative treatments than ever before.We have been able to bring a smile back to Martha's face. With her new confidence, she has been able to get a job at a local thrift store.
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