Stay ahead of healthcare industry news for FQHC and Health Center leaders with our monthly roundups. CareMessage curates the most important developments in healthcare technology, underserved patient care, value-based care, social determinants of health, and more to keep you informed in your role as a healthcare leader.
Rural schools in California are addressing absenteeism and FQHCs are at the center of the conversation. Parlier Unified School District and United Health Centers partnered in 2015 to build a health center close to local elementary and high schools. While results are still pending, this article discusses the benefits that schools, FQHCs, and most importantly, students receive from their working together.
La Maestra Family Clinic has been awarded a $300,000 grant by HRSA to improve and integrate its oral health infrastructure.
The clinic, which serves patients across San Diego County, expects that the grant will enable it to reach an additional 1,000 dental patients each year. La Maestra, which uses a suite of NextGen solutions, will implement a new mobile unit that will extend dental care to neighborhoods where access to comprehensive oral health is currently limited.
Care Management Teams
A recent study published in the American Journal of Managed Care found that complex care management actually does positively impact performance indicators such as hospital utilization and specialists visits. These findings counter previous industry research which claimed that extensive care management had minimal impact on quality outcomes.
While 25% of the U.S. population deals with multiple chronic conditions, an episodic healthcare system isn’t responding adequately. Sage Growth Partners surveyed over 100 healthcare leaders and found that, while 98% of respondents believed that chronic care management is very important, only about half also say they’re doing it well. Leading barriers include insufficient human resources, inadequate reimbursement, and capital constraints.
Serving the Underserved
The nonprofit organization, Urban Food Alliance, which provides fresh meals for minority communities in its New Jersey area, also conducts financial seminars on investing and finance to empower underserved populations and help them take better control over their financial health.
This article from DirectRelief highlights the critical position free and charitable clinics play in filling in gaps for patients who are unaware of their eligibility to turn to FQHCs for care or who need services not offered by FQHCs. Particular emphasis is placed on undocumented people who might be afraid to visit FQHCs, unaware that they’re eligible, or unable to access Medicaid.
The Teaching Health Centers Graduate Medication Education (THCGME) program is at risk of losing funding as of May 22 unless Congress extends support.
The federal program maintains primary care residency programs for non-hospital community-based, ambulatory patient care settings. Doctors go on not only to support their communities, but also help instill future doctors with a love of caring for the underserved and providing culturally sensitive care.
As it stands, the home healthcare sector cannot meet the needs of the growing population of the elderly — a segment of the U.S. that is expected to expand as life expectancy increases. The issue is especially acute in small towns and has been made worse by cuts to Medicaid, outdated provisions, and the challenge of attracting qualified workers to the communities.
Reducing ER Overuse
A survey of over 1,000 people by Kelton Global found that only 14% of Gen X respondents say they view the ER as their primary care provider, and 3% of Baby Boomers over 55 said the same. But younger generations see the ER as an efficient alternative to traditional primary care options where waits can be long and hours of operation often conflict with work schedules.
Social Determinants of Health
A study published in Medical Care, through the American Public Health Association, has found that lower hospital summary scores were associated with hospitals in neighborhoods with higher social risk. This included a reduction in scores for every 10% of residents who didn’t have a high school diploma, were unemployed, self-identified as Black, or were dually eligible for Medicare or Medicaid. The potential result of these associations is lower reimbursement for hospitals serving communities that are already at risk for social determinants of health, all because of a skewed rating system that impacts the hospitals that need funding the most.
If you’d like to learn more about what makes underserved patients unique in healthcare settings, we’d like to recommend this article.