The Impact of Public Health Policy: The Case of Community Health Centers
50 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2004 Last revised: 7 Jan 2009
Date Written: November 1982
The aim of this paper is to assess the impact of the Community Health Center (CHC) on health levels in the U.S. Using infant mortality as the underlying health indicator, a time series of large counties as the data set, and multivariate regression techniques, we investigate the extent to which the presence of a program in a county affects future mortality. We find that CHCs have negative and statistically significant impacts on white and black infant mortality rates.The centers have larger effects on black infant mortality than on white infant mortality. The reduction in the black infant mortality rate between 1970 and 1978 due to the CHC system amounts to one death per thousand live births or approximately 12 percent of the observed decline.This result is particularly striking in light of the well-known higher infant mortality rate of blacks. A reduction in the excess mortality rate of black babies has been dentfied as a goal of public health policy for a number of years. Our results suggest that community health centers have the potential to make a substantial contribution to the achievement of this goal.
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