Churches provide valuable healthcare link, study finds

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Nearly 70% of churches nationwide provide direct healthcare services to either congregation members or the community at large, according to a recent survey conducted by the National Council of Churches. At least half of U.S. churches offer health care services to both, the study found.

The survey polled 6,000 churches. Among the healthcare-related services offered by the churches: Sponsoring flu vaccination clinics and other health clinics, offering tests for medical conditions such as hypertension and high cholesterol and providing counseling or support groups for mental health or substance abuse problems.

Many in the long-term care industry are emphasizing the need for more home- and community-based services for the elderly to help relieve the state and federal costs.