The Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC) this week announced a pilot financing program designed to help community-based health care providers make investments in their organizations to support transformation.
The Transformation Loan Fund enables health centers and other providers to undertake critical investments that support new delivery and payment models, among other changes. By accessing capital for these increasingly complex needs — from technology upgrades to new staffing focused on care coordination — providers can transition to new models of delivery and payment, and maximize their resources dedicated to primary care.
The first project to be financed through the new fund is a Connecticut health center at the frontline of the opioid crisis.
“Health care delivery transformation has entered a new phase in recent years, shifting from theory to practice,” said Anne Dyjak [left], PCDC Managing Director. “Community health centers face extraordinary pressures in response to state and federal delivery system and payment reform initiatives. The challenge is in how to cut costs, streamline processes, and deliver high-quality care while improving outcomes simultaneously. The Transformation Loan Fund aims to alleviate these stressors by financing the initial investments that organizations need to strengthen and successfully adapt.”
The timing is critical: Over the past few years, the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been challenging the U.S. health care system to deliver higher quality care to more people but also drive down costs. In response, many states and payers have instituted radical delivery system and payment reforms that have required significant changes by CHCs, among them:
- upgrading electronic health record systems (EHRs) to the newest generation which includes outcomes-oriented programming and allows for real-time information exchange between organizations and outcomes measurement;
- implementing patient-centered service integration efforts to provide comprehensive care, including services historically provided by mental health organizations, substance-use disorder treatment programs, and others;
- expanding their workforce, hiring more and varied staff who can extend clinical capacity, engaging patients in consistent care, and performing analysis of costs and outcomes data; and
- diversifying delivery to include emerging treatment modalities that improve patients’ access to care, e.g., telehealth.
For community health centers, adapting to these changes involves multiple priorities of equal importance. The Transformation Loan Fund is designed specifically to address these expectations, providing patient capital that allows providers the flexibility to adapt and reposition for success in the changing health care environment. As with all PCDC financing, loans are based on the organization’s specific needs and characteristics.
“PCDC works with community based organizations across the country and has a deep understanding not only of what providers need in the ever-evolving health care environment, but also how to help them fund the interventions that enable effective and efficient responses to larger changes,” Dyjak said.
The pilot loan program, which provides loans in amounts of $200,000 to $2 million, is available to health care and other community-based providers specializing in care and services for underserved communities in the US.