Community health is a term that describes simple health services provided by laypeople outside of hospitals and clinics. These services are often free and accessible. They include health screenings, disease prevention, and counseling. These services are vital for the overall health of a community. Generally, the services are delivered by volunteers who are trained in the delivery of basic health services.
In the United States, nearly half of the population suffers from chronic illness and lack of access to care. Because of socioeconomic factors, many individuals living in low-income and rural areas are at a higher risk of not receiving appropriate care. In cases of emergency, patients, especially elderly diabetics, may be unable to access a doctor, making community health services vital. Additionally, the shortage of doctors in rural areas has led to the closure of some rural hospitals. Moreover, there are more than 7,000 primary care shortage areas and five thousand mental health shortage areas in the U.S.
Community health centers provide essential services to residents and help them get insurance. These services reduce the incidence of expensive emergency care. These centers also advocate for better health care for vulnerable groups. They collaborate with other agencies to improve health status in the community.