Healthcare Industry

September News Roundup: Health Center Visits to Increase by 1 million; A Guide to HIPAA-Compliant Texting

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. 

FQHC Update

NACHC Weighs in on Abortion Rule

FQHCs are in the spotlight as the debate around Title X and Planned Parenthood funding continues. An HHS spokesperson has indicated that where feasible, the agency will consider fulfilling its obligations through a new administering agency. 

HHS has leaned toward the idea of awarding funding to faith-based organizations that oppose abortion and contraception, and it has also indicated that it might turn to FQHCs to participate in Title X. At the same time, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) has already indicated that it opposes the changes. 

NACHC Predicts 29 Million Patients to Visit a Community Health Center in the Next Year

According to NACHC data, one in 12 patients will use a community health center within the next year. That number marks an increase from 27.2 million in 2017 — CHCs saw an increase of 1.2 million patients between 2017 and 2018. 

The data reveals just how critical CHCs have been in reaching ‘unreachable’ patients, with almost 6.4 million not having insurance and 13.7 being covered by Medicaid. NACHC also highlighted the role that CHCs play in the fight against the opioid epidemic and creating jobs within communities.

The Power of Texting

A Brief Guide to HIPAA-Compliant Texting

SoftwareAdvice covers the concept of HIPAA-compliant texting, highlighting information including patient preference for HIPAA-compliant texting over portals, the definition of HIPAA-compliant texting, how to establish a policy, and how to decide whether texting is a good fit for your organization. 

Dallas Org Uses Text Messaging to Avoid Pre-Term Birth

Texas maternal mortality is infamously high, especially for women of color and the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation (PCCI) is using data analytics and technology to improve outcomes for underserved women in the Dallas area. 

The nonprofit is connecting data science and social determinants of health by engaging a group of 700 women and sending them a series of text reminders on topics including general wellness, what to expect, prenatal appointments, and prescriptions. In just one year, women in the program reduced pre-term birth by 27 percent and increased prenatal visit attendance by 24 percent. The center also reported that the enrolled women saved the system $1 million in the first year. 

Serving the Underserved

White Paper Address Healthcare Disparity for Hispanics

Hoy Health has released its white paper, “Affordable Access to Care for Hispanics and Medically Underserved” to address healthcare disparities among Hispanics and other underserved populations in the United States. 

Diabetes Care Targets Unimproved Since 2005

A study published in the Journal of American Medicine (JAMA) found that about 25 percent of adults diagnosed with diabetes in the United States achieved the composite goal. No significant improvement in individual targets was found between 2005 and 2016. Additionally, gaps in achieving diabetes care targets persisted during that time period, particularly among young people, females, and nonwhite adults. 

Keeping Up with HEDIS

5 things to know about HEDIS

Beckers’ Hospital Review is highlighting five important things to know about HEDIS including

  • 190 million people are enrolled in plans that report HEDIS results. 
  • NCQA uses HEDIS as part of their annual health plan rankings.
  • HEDIS covers over 90 measures across six areas of care.
  • This year, HEDIS added three measures to its 2019 accreditation scoring.
  • Healthcare organizations can use HEDIS for internal, noncommercial purposes like quality improvement initiatives.

Tackling Social Determinants of Health

Best Practices to Address Social Determinants of Health

In 2015, Humana launched its Bold Goal strategy and now, they’re sharing their best practices for building a strategy that addresses social determinants of health. Their advice is to: 

  • Promote buy-in at all levels.
  • Draw data from multiple sources.
  • Encourage community involvement.
  • Build for the future.
  • Remember that good things take time.

Congress Leans Toward Paying for Social Determinants of Health

The Social Determinants Accelerator Act could be a step toward addressing social determinants of health by allocating tax dollars to grants and technical assistance, and it has bipartisan support. 

Providers also support the effort, which is critical since they would be instrumental in creating alliances with social agencies and community groups that would improve outreach to services that aren’t usually covered by Medicaid. 

Would you like to learn more about HEDIS training and education options for your FQHC? Start here.

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