Community Health Centers Quietly Adjust to Quality Era

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Community Health Centers Quietly Adjust to Quality Era

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012 - 9:52
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Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 09:32
Funding of Federally Qualified Health Centers now tied to performance improvement.

According to a USA Today-Kaiser Health News report, community health centers receiving federal funding will be closely scrutinized on quality and other performance indicators in the years ahead. Starting 2014, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) will start to see the first of $10 billion of funds appropriated by Congress in the health reform law. Lawmakers expect that the Medicaid coverage expansion will drive up the patient load of community centers, which doubled to 20 million in the past decade. Community health centers typically serve low-income, uninsured, and Medicaid populations in need of primary care services.

Since 2008, community health centers have been required to report on six quality measurements to the government mostly in the area of preventive care. Now the government is asking for more data and will start publishing the data in the form of report cards. The effort at transparency is an attempt to create pressure on providers to change tactics going forward, especially in areas of priority like chronic illness and obesity.