Washington Association of Community and Migrant Health Centers

2012 Snapshot of Washington State Community Health Centers 

Washington’s community health centers (CHCs) are local, non-profit, community-owned health care providers serving low-income and medically underserved communities.

In 2012, CHCs were the health care home for 789,707 individuals in Washington based Community Health Centers:

  • 43% of patients were on Medicaid (339,501)
  • 35% of patients were uninsured (279,252)
  • 37% of patients were under 19 (291,788)

CHCs are a positive and significant economic engine for Washington State. In 2011, Washington CHCs injected $638 million in operating expenditures directly into local economies. These expenditures produced additional indirect and induced economic activity of $436 million for an overall positive impact of $1.07 billion. In addition, CHCs directly generated 5,931 full-time jobs and supported an additional 3,332 jobs in other industries. 1


Washington’s health centers provide access to all patients that walk through the door, regardless of their ability to pay. The statewide network of CHCs:

  • Reduce health care disparities. The majority of patients (69%) at CHCs live at or below the federal poverty level and more than one-half (51%) of their patients are visible minorities.
  • Serve the rising number of uninsured in Washington. Between 2002 and 2012, uninsured patients at CHCs increased significantly (83%).*
  • Provides a health care home for nearly one-third of the state’s uninsured, including almost half of the state’s uninsured children (38,887). 2


CHCs are part of the health care solution. In 2006, the Washington State health care system wasted $355 million in avoidable emergency room visits. These non-emergent visits could have been treated more cost effectively at a CHC. 3 

From chronic disease management to evidence-based clinical practice, CHCs deliver good health outcomes and are extremely efficient. By zeroing in on conditions that significantly drive up costs - such as asthma, diabetes, and hypertension - health centers simultaneously improve patient health and control unnecessary spending. This model reduces the need for more expensive hospital in-patient and specialty care and produces significant savings for the health care system.

* Source Methodology 2012 preliminary UDS data is submitted by Washington State CHC’s:
•    Total patient, demographic, and insurance data: 2012 data is from all 26 of Washington’s Community Health Centers.
•    Comparison of Uninsured Data: 2002-2012 data is from the 22 members required to report at that time.
•    All Patient Insurance Status data 2002-2012: Numbers include 22 original WACMHC members in 2000, expanded to all 26 current Community Health Centers in Washington   

1  The Economic Impact of Community Health Care Centers in Washington State” Capital Link Dec 2013

2. .WA State OFM 2010 Uninsured estimates: 819,196 Total patients 82,938 Children 0-19 http://wa-state-ofm.us/SPSOnline/

3Access to Community Health and Wasted Expenditures on Avoidable Emergency Room Visits: Summary of Findings, 2006.” NACHC, Sept. 2006










The Washington Association of Community & Migrant Health Centers (WACMHC) is a non-profit organization, formed in 1985, to advocate on behalf of the low-income, uninsured, and underserved populations of Washington State served by community health centers. These health centers serve low income and other persons with limited access to health care.

510 Plum Street SE, Suite 101, Olympia WA 98501     |    360.786.9722 




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