Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced more than $87 million in funding for 1,310 health centers in every U.S. state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Pacific Basin.
“Health centers across the country are instrumental in providing high-quality, comprehensive primary health care to millions of people,” said Secretary Burwell. “This investment will help unlock health care data and put it to work, improving health outcomes and building a better health care system for the American people.”
The funding will support health information technology enhancements to accelerate health centers’ transition to value-based models of care, improve efforts to share and use information to support better decisions, and increase engagement in delivery system transformation. To support these goals, all purchases or upgrades of electronic health record systems made with the funding must use technology that is certified by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. This is the first significant investment since 2009 directly awarded to health centers to support the purchase of health information technology.
“These awards will allow health centers to deliver higher quality of care to patients and spend health care dollars in a smarter way,” said Jim Macrae, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Acting Administrator.
Nearly 1,400 health centers operating over 9,800 sites provide care to more than 24 million people across this nation, in every U.S. state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Pacific Basin. Today, health centers employ nearly 190,000 people.
This funding comes from the Affordable Care Act’s Community Health Center (CHC) Fund, which was extended with bipartisan support in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015. The increased use of health information technology is part of the administration’s efforts to build a health care system that delivers better care, smarter spending and healthier people.
For a list of these fiscal year 2016 Delivery System Health Information Investment Awards recipients, visit: http://bphc.hrsa.gov/programopportunities/fundingopportunities/dshii/fy2016awards/index.html
Landmark Study Confirms Medicaid Cost-Savings at Health Centers; Total Cost of Care for Health Center Patients was 24% Lower
A new study confirms significant Medicaid cost-savings among patients at Community Health Centers. The study, recently released online, will be published in the November issue of the American Journal of Public Health. Authors analyzed Medicaid claims data for both health center and non-health center patients in 13 states, and found that health centers save, on average, $2,371 (or 24%) in total spending per Medicaid patient when compared to other providers. The study focused on Alabama, Colorado, California, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, North Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Mississippi, West Virginia, Connecticut, and Montana, making it one of the largest multi-state studies of its kind. Researchers found that health center Medicaid patients had lower utilization and spending than non–health center patients across all services studied, including:
The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins University, the University of California at Irvine, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Health Resources and Services Administration. The abstract can be found by visiting this link. Community Health Centers care for 25 million people nationwide, including more than 1 out of every 6 Medicaid beneficiaries. Nearly half (49 percent) of all health center patients rely on Medicaid to cover their care yet, Medicaid payments to health centers make up only 1.6% of total Medicaid spending.
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