Months into the COVID-19 Pandemic, Community Health Centers Report Signs of Improvement, But Face Financial Uncertainty

This policy brief reports on the COVID-19 experience of the nation’s community health centers over a six-month period, utilizing data from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA’s) weekly Health Center COVID-19 Survey from April 3rd, 2020 to October 2nd, 2020. The data demonstrate that community health centers were immediately responsive to the public health crisis, initiating diagnostic testing for the COVID-19 virus, and adapting care such as telehealth to address patient needs.

Key Updates from the Health Center COVID-19 Survey (Update #8): Nearly 2,000 Sites Are Temporarily Closed, Testing Has Dropped, Telehealth Use Has Declined, and Revenue Losses are Estimated in the Billions

As the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA’s) weekly reports on community health centers’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic reaches its eighth week, certain trends and areas of concern have emerged. Drawing any definitive conclusions is difficult, since the data are not longitudinal, tracking changes experienced by a defined group of reporting health centers over time. Instead, the information provided by HRSA is cross-sectional – that is, each week, different health centers may be reporting.

Key Updates from the Health Center COVID-19 Survey (Update #5): COVID-19 Positive Cases Climb as Health Center Testing Capacity Increases

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) released its fifth weekly summary of COVID-19 survey data on May 6th, 2020. This weekly update is drawn from information provided by responding federally-funded community health centers on May 1st, 2020. This data note summarizes key findings based on 966 health center responses (70 percent response rate).

The data note is available here.

What Can We Learn from Telehealth Experience of Community Health Centers During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Telehealth has grown from a promising innovation to become essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. Community health centers’ ability to put telehealth to use can provide important insight into how well the modalities can be adapted to comprehensive primary health care for medically underserved populations. These centers face challenges with receiving payment for virtual telehealth visits, the cost of telehealth technology, and ensuring an adequate telehealth workforce.

Key Updates from the Health Center COVID-19 Survey (Week 4): Two in Three Patients Who Tested Positive for COVID-19 Were Racial/Ethnic Minorities

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) released its 4th weekly summary of COVID-19 survey data on May 1st, 2020. This weekly summary is drawn from information provided by responding federally-funded community health centers on April 24, 2020. This data note summarizes key findings based on 1,038 health center responses (75 percent response rate).

The Week 4 Summary can be found here.

Weeks 2 and 3 are available at the links below: