Federally Qualified Health Centers: A Time to Adapt, Acclimate, and Secure Funding
Updated: August 22, 2016
By PCDC and CohnReznick, 2014
With 123 new accountable care organizations (ACOs) announced in 2013 and more than 600 public and private ACOs throughout the U.S., ACOs collaborative care networks are emerging throughout the country.With goals to improve quality outcomes, improve the experience of care, and lower costs, the success of these network models depend heavily on an effective primary care foundation. Accordingly, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) are pivotally positioned to form or become a key component of these networks.
FQHCs are by and large further along in many of the key areas of healthcare transformation and accountable care. Nearly half are recognized “Patient Centered Medical Homes” – a model of care that is increasingly demonstrating substantial cost savings. Practically all FQHCs are using electronic health records. Further, they are, as a group, far along in managing chronic diseases (the leading drivers of health costs) and reporting data, as they must report health outcomes and financial data regularly to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
While the network model opens up opportunities for major reorganization of the healthcare delivery system, there are no guaranteed winners. FQHCs could add significant value and stand to benefit from the financial reward of participating in an ACO or collaborative care network, but they also face significant barriers and risks.