"Community health centers are a national network of safety net primary care providers that fill an important role in national, state, and local responses to the coronavirus pandemic. Health centers primarily contribute to response efforts by providing tests, triaging patients, and reducing the burden on hospitals, although they also play a role in addressing demand for behavioral health services and continuing primary care for patients with chronic conditions. Patients at health centers are disproportionately low-income and people of color, groups especially hard hit by the pandemic. Among the roughly 28 million patients served by health centers, 91% are low-income and 63% are racial or ethnic minorities. Like other outpatient health care providers, health centers are having to adjust to stay-at-home orders, drops in patient visits for non-essential health care, and workforce challenges. This brief presents findings from new data collected by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to provide insights into how health centers are adapting their services in response to the pandemic and how coronavirus is affecting their operations and long-term financial outlook with patient visits and revenue from those visits dropping precipitously."
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