Advanced Primary Care Practice Demo Underway

For the next three years, 500 federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) in 44 states will participate in the Advanced Primary Care Practice demonstration. From Nov. 1, 2011 to Oct. 31, 2014, these health centers will be paid based on the quality of care they deliver. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) said in an Oct. 24 statement that it expects to dole out approximately $42 million for the demonstration, courtesy of the Affordable Care Act.

In exchange for funding, FQHCs must also expand their hours, make same-day appointments, and accommodate patients with urgent care needs.

“The goal of this demonstration is to help patients get the care they need in a primary care setting rather than in an emergency department,” said Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Donald M. Berwick, M.D. “When patients are able to use a health center as their primary source of care, it helps primary care doctors, nurses, and specialists coordinate their care. Health centers will also use health care dollars more wisely as patients receive the right tests, right medications, and right treatments in the right setting.”

The Innovation Center will conduct an independent evaluation of the demonstration to study the process and challenges involved in transforming FQHCs into advanced primary care practices, HHS said.

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