May 4, 2016 – Palmetto, GA – “Last year, YourTown Health saved the Georgia healthcare system more than 14 million dollars, reduced unnecessary hospitalizations and had a multi-million dollar economic impact on the six county region we serve,” said Jon W. Wollenzien, Jr., Chief Executive Officer.
For 50+ years, America’s community health centers, like West Georgia’s YourTown Health, have provided cost-effective, comprehensive, preventive and primary care to patients, regardless of their ability to pay. In 2015, YourTown Health’s network of six clinics provided quality care to the most vulnerable and underserved members of the West Georgia community – men and women, elderly and young children, veterans, minorities and more. In addition to the large safety net it provides, YourTown Health also generated a great economic impact to the area that included jobs, tax revenue and savings on a burdened healthcare system.
Lower healthcare costs are an added benefit to having a health center in your community. “Because we keep healthcare costs to a minimum and provide integrated medical and dental care under one roof, we generate cost savings for the entire healthcare system,” said Wollenzien. Studies show that people who use a community health center such as YourTown Health have lower rates of emergency department visits and fewer hospital admissions. Even uninsured patients are less likely to delay care because of cost or inability to refill a prescription. Health centers also provide much-needed access to quality preventive care that can reduce low birth rate and control hypertension, diabetes and other chronic conditions. Even if people have insurance coverage and can afford care, it may be beyond reach because of cultural, language, transportation or other barriers.
For all of the above reasons, community health centers save the healthcare system $24 billion a year nationally. Approximately one in five who visited YourTown Health last year were Medicaid beneficiaries and 82% live below the federal poverty line. The estimated annual savings for the 11,225 patients receiving care at YourTown Health in 2015 was $14.2 million – or $1,263 saved per patient.
Another lesser-known fact is that health centers like YourTown Health create jobs and can produce an economic ripple effect with an infusion of spending through the purchase of additional goods and services from local businesses. Directly and indirectly, YourTown Health contributed an estimated $8.7 million dollars to the West Georgia economy in 2015. It generated 54 full-time jobs and supported an additional 21 jobs in other local industries.
In 2015, YourTown Health expanded its dental health program and added an extra doctor and dentist to its growing staff. As YourTown Health continues to expand its services, it will remain a vital local engine for a healthy community – that generates healthy local, state and national economic returns, too.
YourTown Health is a non-profit network of six community health centers serving the communities of Meriwether, Pike, Lamar, Carroll, Coweta and South Fulton counties for over 35 years. The centers provide access to quality primary care, pediatric care, women’s care, dental care and more, regardless of a patient’s ability to pay.