HHS awards $36.3 million for quality improvements in health centers

Dec. 9, 2014

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced $36.3 million in Affordable Care Act funding to 1,113 health centers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and seven U.S. Territories to recognize health center quality improvement achievements and invest in ongoing quality improvement activities. The health centers receiving awards today are proven leaders in areas such as chronic disease management, preventive care and the use of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) to report quality data.

“This funding rewards health centers that have a proven track record in clinical quality improvement, which translates to better patient care, and it allows them to expand and improve their systems and infrastructure to bring the highest quality primary care services to the communities they serve,” said Secretary Burwell. “With these funds, health centers in all 50 states will continue to provide access to high quality, comprehensive primary and preventive health care to the patients that need it the most.”

Health centers receiving these funds are being recognized for high levels of quality performance in one or more of the following four categories.

  • Health center quality leaders received awards if they were among the top 30 percent of all health centers that achieved the best overall clinical outcomes, demonstrating their ability to focus on quality in all aspects of their clinical operations; 361 health centers received funding in this category for approximately $11.2 million dollars.
  • National quality leaders received awards for exceeding national clinical benchmarks (Healthy People 2020 objectives and health center national averages) for chronic disease management, preventive care, and perinatal/prenatal care, demonstrating the critical role that health centers play in promoting higher quality health care nationwide; 57 health centers received funding in this category for approximately $2.5 million dollars.
  • Clinical quality improvers received awards if they demonstrated at least a 10 percent improvement in clinical quality measures between 2012 and 2013, showing a significant improvement in the health of the patients they serve; 1,058 health centers received funding in this category for approximately $17.7 million dollars.
  • Electronic Health Record reporters received funding if they used EHRs to report clinical quality measure data on all of their patients, a key transformational step in driving quality improvement for all health center patients across the nation; 332 health centers received funding in this category for approximately $4.9 million dollars.

“These funds reward and support those health centers that have taken steps to achieve the highest levels of clinical quality performance and improvement,” said Health and Resources Administration (HRSA) Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N.

Nearly 1,300 HRSA-supported health centers operate more than 9,200 service delivery sites that provide care to nearly 22 million patients in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Basin.

For a list of FY 2015 Quality Improvement Awards recipients, visitwww.hrsa.gov/about/news/2014tables/qualityimprovement/.

To learn more about the Affordable Care Act and Community Health Centers, visithttp://bphc.hrsa.gov/about/healthcenterfactsheet.pdf.

To learn more about HRSA’s Community Health Center Program, visit http://bphc.hrsa.gov/about/index.html.

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