On December 9, 2014, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced substantial financial awards for numerous Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and other health centers nationwide. Our Atlanta, Georgia business and health care law firm represents FQHCs and health centers. We learned from HHS’ press release that it awarded $36.3 million in Affordable Care Act funding for the purpose of rewarding and expanding the quality of care in FQHCs.
FQHCs and other HRSA-supported health centers are designed to provide comprehensive, high quality primary care services to the medically underserved communities of the United States. These health centers are sometimes referred to as “safety net providers.” FQHCs are community-based facilities that serve populations with less access to health care. Grant-supported FQHCs are public or private non-profit healthcare entities that meet particular qualifications under Section 330 of the Public Health Services Act. Non-grant-supported health centers, also referred to as “look-alikes,” are healthcare entities that HRSA and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have determined meet the definition of “health center” under Section 330 of the Public Health Services Act, but do not receive grant funding under Section 330.
According to HHS’ press release: “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. 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.”
There are about 1,300 HRSA-supported health centers nationwide, which collectively operate more than 9,200 health center delivery locations, serving more than 22 million individuals. Consistent with the stated objectives of the Affordable Care Act, HHS has emphasized its purpose and objective are to incentivize quality care by all FQHCs and other safety net providers.
HHS weighed certain factors heavily in determining the awards:
- FQHCs/Health centers that stood among the top 30% of all health centers with regard to clinical outcomes
- FQHCs/Health centers that exceeded national clinical benchmarks for chronic disease management, preventive care and perinatal/prenatal care
- FQHCs/Health centers that showed at least a 10 percent improvement in clinical quality measures over a one-year period
- FQHCs/Health centers that used electronic health records to report quality measure data on all of their patients
The 2015 Quality Improvement Award recipients are listed at: Health Center Quality Improvement FY 2015 Grant Awards. These financial awards will greatly benefit the health center recipients, to the advantage of all patients served by FQHCs and similar health centers.
We represent FQHCs and other health centers with regard to various business and health care issues, including 501(c)(3) status, FQHC qualification and business set up, Section 340B eligibility and audits, and business litigation. If you have questions about this blog post, you may reach us at our Atlanta or Augusta, Georgia law offices or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: [HRSA Press Release]
* Disclaimer: Thoughts shared here do not constitute legal advice. Please consult with an attorney to discuss your legal issue.