Objectives: In 2001, the Health Center Growth Initiative was launched to increase access to primary health-care services through the expansion of the health center program. We examined the impact this initiative had on the number and types of patients seen by health centers, as well as the health center characteristics significantly associated with service expansions.
Methods: We conducted secondary and time-trend analyses of the Uniform Data System, an annual dataset submitted to the Bureau of Primary Health Care by all federally qualified health centers. We performed trend and multivariable analyses to examine the impact of the initiative on health center performance.
Results: Health centers that received both new access points and expanded medical capacity funding saw the most rapid growth in patients. These centers experienced a 58% increase in total number of patients and a 60% increase in total number of encounters, compared with 10% and 8%, respectively, for centers receiving no funding at all.
Conclusions: were unchanged even after controlling for other health center characteristics.
Conclusions: Public funding is critical to sustaining and expanding health center services to the nation's vulnerable populations.