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Research Letter
May 2016

Changes in Demographics of Patients Seen at Federally Qualified Health Centers, 2005-2014

Author Affiliations
  • 1Medical student, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
  • 2Medical student, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC
  • 3Department of Emergency Medicine, Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California–San Francisco, San Francisco, California

Copyright 2016 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(5):712-714. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.0705

Over the past decade, federal support for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) has expanded under both the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Affordable Care Act. The 2 expansions paralleled 2 demographic shifts in demand for FQHCs’ safety net health care and social services. The first such shift occurred with the loss of employer-sponsored insurance during the economic recession of 2008-2009; and the second with the expansion of health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act, including 6.5 million persons insured through Medicaid.1 Despite the increasingly important role of FQHCs in primary care in the United States, published analyses examining the trajectory of the FQHC network’s patients predate those expansions, lack population adjustments, or focus on a single demographic variable.24 We conducted a study to overcome these shortcomings by describing the changes in the demographics of patients seen by FQHCs over the past decade.

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