Health Centers Awarded ACA Money to Promote Primary Care
Health centers will get a boost from the government to promote primary care services to underserved Americans. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced, Sept. 15, it is awarding nearly $500 million in Affordable Care Act (ACA) funding toward the cause.
The awards include approximately $350 million for 1,184 health centers to increase access to services such as medical, oral, behavioral, pharmacy, and vision care. Nearly $150 million will be awarded to 160 health centers for facility renovation, expansion, or construction to increase patient or service capacity, according to the HHS press release. The awards will purportedly give 1.4 million more Americans access to comprehensive, quality healthcare through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
“With these awards, health centers will be able to do things like increase their hours of operation, hire more behavioral health providers, add dental facilities, better treat patients with opioid use disorders, and help people get coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace … ” said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell.
The next open enrollment for Health Insurance Marketplace begins Nov. 1.
Good Year for Health Centers
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Acting Administrator Jim Macrae announced, Aug. 25, $63.3 million in Affordable Care Act funding to 1,153 health centers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and seven U.S. territories to recognize health center achievements in providing high quality, comprehensive care.
Health centers receiving these funds are being recognized for high levels of performance in one or more of the following categories:
Quality Awards – $43.7 million for 1,153 health centers:
- Health center quality leaders – for achieving the best overall clinical outcomes among all health centers.
- Electronic health record reporters – for using EHRs to report clinical quality measure data for all patients.
- Clinical quality improvers – for showing improvement in one or more clinical quality measures between 2013 and 2014, demonstrating a significant improvement to their patients’ health.
- National quality leaders – for meeting or exceeding national clinical quality benchmarks, including Healthy People 2020 objectives, for chronic disease management, preventive care, and perinatal/prenatal care.
Access Awards – $9.7 million for 340 health centers:
- Access enhancers – for increasing the total number of patients served and the number of patients receiving comprehensive services between 2013 and 2014.
Value Awards – $9.9 million for 139 health centers:
- High-value health centers – for improving cost efficient care delivery compared to the national average, while also increasing quality of care and improving access to comprehensive services.