Updated May 26 at 6:26pm

R.I. health centers generated $226M for economy in 2013

Rhode Island community health centers contributed an estimated $226 million to the state’s economy in 2013 and supported 1,779 jobs, according to a study released Friday by the Rhode Island Health Center Association. More

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R.I. health centers generated $226M for economy in 2013

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PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island community health centers contributed an estimated $226 million to the state’s economy in 2013 and supported 1,779 jobs, according to a study released Friday by the Rhode Island Health Center Association.

The eight community health centers in Rhode Island, operating from 29 sites across the state, served more than 146,000 patients last year, many of them Medicaid beneficiaries, low-income individuals below the poverty line and the uninsured. The centers provide care that saves the health care system an average 24 percent annually on costs.

In 2013, the Rhode Island Health Center Association found Rhode Island health centers saved the system approximately $184 million, or $1,263 per patient.

In addition, health centers generated approximately $9.7 million in state and local tax revenue last year and $19.3 million in federal tax revenue for a total 2013 tax impact of $29 million.

The study was released Friday morning at a press conference with congressional delegates to celebrate National Health Center Week and the grand opening of new dental offices at Providence Community Health Centers, located at 355 Prairie Ave. in Providence.

The new 10,000-square-foot dental facility will accommodate nine dental chairs this year, with plans to expand to 19 chairs next year. Providence Community Health Centers currently provides dental services to 3,000 children and hopes to serve as many as 18,000 following this expansion, which will include hiring an additional full-time dentist and hygienist, and part-time dentists and support staff.

Also opening on the Providence Community Health Centers campus are new 27,000-square-foot offices for Lifespan – which will include a child neurological testing center, radiology school and community health program – and a new Walgreens “pilot store” to provide retail and a full-service pharmacy.

Providence Community Health Centers has invested more than $30 million into the Providence community through the construction and expansion of the Prairie Avenue facility, transforming a dilapidated mill into a new medical and health service campus with close to 200 staff.

“Rhode Island continues to be a leader in health care coverage and delivery, creating a model for the rest of the nation to emulate,” said Rep. James R. Langevin. “I am proud to represent so many outstanding health care professionals, and I am honored and humbled to be recognized for my commitment to our shared goal of supporting healthy communities.”

Rhode Island’s eight community health centers include Blackstone Valley Community Health Care in Pawtucket, Comprehensive Community Action in Cranston, East Bay Community Action Program in East Providence, Providence Community Health Centers, Thundermist Health Center in West Warwick, Tri-Town Community Action Program in Johnston, WellOne Primary Medical and Dental Care in Providence County and North Kingstown, and Wood River Health Services in Hopkinton.

Rhode Island community health center, Rhode Island Health Center Association, Providence Community Health Centers, Walgreens, Lifespan, James R. Langevin,

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