This week in health care

HHS Announces Funds to Better Integrate HIV Services into Health Centers:

This week Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced the availability of $11 million to support the integration of high quality HIV services into primary care in Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland and New York. The integration of HIV services into primary care settings is seen as a critical step in meeting the goals of the National HIV/AIDS strategy.

National Health Center Week is Quickly Approaching and the Gathering Steam (#NHCW2014)

Governors Rick Snyder (Michigan), Pat McCrory (North Carolina), Pat Quinn (Illinois) and Rick Perry (Texas) have all issued  National Health Center Week proclamations. Get the word out to your community by obtaining a proclamation for NHCW from your local or state elected officials with this proclamation template.

NHCW events continue to pour in to Health Center Week website. If your health center is celebrating with an event, let us know by submitting it here.

Don’t forget there are also tools—social media, materials, media toolkit and more—your health center can use to promote NHCW.

Lost Funding Could Shutter 80 TN Community Health Clinics

United Neighborhood Health Services CEO Mary Bufwack spoke to Public News Service about the impact the health center funding cliff would have on her health center in Nashville, Tennessee.

CVS Caremark and IBM Announced NACHC Partnership to Provide Community Health Centers with Technology Solutions to Enhance Patient Engagement

The “Technology Solutions for Smarter Health” grants will be awarded to Community Health Centers nationwide in need of advanced technology to help people get on a path to better health. The grants will enhance technology infrastructure and help centers more easily communicate and share health information with patients through secure electronic messaging. The advanced technology will also provide patients with the ability to view, download and transmit their health information online.

Groups Under Health Act Are Said to Aid Millions

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey ACA enrollment assistance programs helped 10.6 million people with their health insurance options during open enrollment. The survey also found that states with their own exchanges or that were working towards their own exchanges received more funding and helped twice as many people as those who opted not to run their own exchange.

New Challenge for Obamacare: Enrollees who don’t understand their insurance plans

New health coverage enrollees are having trouble understanding their new coverage and this could be barrier to the success of the ACA. According the Washington Post: “Health insurance, with its jargon and complicated fee structure, has long been confusing for many consumers, but experts say the literacy gap poses an especially big problem now.”

Funding Cliff Gathers Steam in the News

Funding-cliff[1]Health center advocates have been talking about the funding cliff for some time, now the media is starting to pay attention.  The health center funding cliff is what happens after 2015, when funding from the Affordable Care Act expires, just as the demand ramps up for primary care.

“Access problems could intensify in September 2015,” writes Jed Graham in a feature recently published in Investors Business Daily.  “The 2015 funding cliff would leave health centers unable to sustain current caseloads, sharply damaging primary-care access for the insured and uninsured alike and potentially leading to more costly increases in specialty, emergency and inpatient care.”  Graham also cites the recent report on the funding cliff by researchers at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health.  You can find that report by visiting this link.

That same report was also mentioned in a recent blog post by  Nonprofit Quarterly writer Ruth McCambridge, who observes, “that if this funding is not continued, and if more states do not expand Medicaid, the number of patients cared for by health centers could by 2020 fall by more than 25 percent. If, on the other hand, funding is renewed and all states expand Medicaid, the numbers of patients served by health centers will rise from the 25.6 million that is expected this year to 36.5 million in 2020—a 42 percent increase.”

Health center leaders are also taking pen in hand to write about the issue. Anita Monoian, Former NACHC Board Chair and the President and CEO of Yakima Neighborhood Health Services described the impact a funding cliff would have on her health center in an op-ed published in the Yakima Herald Republic.

She writes, “The impact would be disastrous. Our clinic, like others here in the Valley and across the state, would be forced to cut back services and staff. Programs focused on growing the supply of primary care providers also would be hurt.”

In the coming week, we predict more headlines about this critical issue.  So stay tuned!

54 Days until the CHI

chitwitterThe NACHC Community Health Institute (CHI) & Expo is 54 days away and we are excited to welcome everyone to San Diego, California. If you haven’t registered yet why haven’t you? Early bird registration ends on July 31st.

For those who aren’t sure what the CHI is and why should attend, you should know that the CHI is the largest gathering of Community Health Center managers, clinicians, board members and leaders. The conference offers you the opportunity to network with peers and learn more about new issues impacting Community Health Centers. Relevant and timely financial, management, governance, policy and clinical topics are covered over three days. The CHI brings together the most up-to-date information about the health system transformation now taking shape.

There really are so many exciting reasons to be part of the CHI including having fun networking with new and old friends in the health center movement, visiting the EXPO to learn about the latest technologies and services, and also many opportunities to win great prizes. But most of all it’s the opportunity to learn and share innovative ideas and knowledge that you can take back to your health center and apply.

CHI Badge

Share this badge to let your health center friends know you’ll be at the CHI.

As the CHI continues to take shape we’ll keep you updated via our Facebook and Twitter. We’ll be
highlighting education sessions throughout the month. Just look for the #NACHCchi14 hashtag.  If you’re already making plans to attend let your friends on Facebook know by joining our event and sharing the badge in this blog post.

See you in sunny San Diego!

“Talk HIV. Test HIV. Treat HIV”

banner2This week is National HIV Testing Week (#NHTWUS) and across the country organizations like Community Health Centers are starting that all important conversation with patients and community members about knowing their HIV status. Coordinated by the Urban Coalition for HIV/AIDS Services (UCHAPS), the observance of NHTW aims to reduce late diagnosis by ensuring more people become aware of their current HIV status. By setting aside this week to recognize the importance of HIV testing, organizations hope to encourage communities at higher risk to not only get tested, but also seek regular and ongoing care if they have positive diagnoses.

According to UCHAPS “at least one in every five people living with HIV in the United States is unaware that they are HIV positive.” Talking about and testing for HIV can reduce the likelihood of transmission to others and those who are diagnosed early are more likely to respond well to treatment, allowing them to live longer, healthier lives.

Community Health Centers are a resource people can turn to—regardless of ability to pay—to get tested. In fact, 79 percent of Health Centers provide HIV testing and counseling. In 2012 (the most recent data available) health centers provided almost a million HIV tests to over a million patients.

badge-national-hiv-testing-dayNational HIV Testing Week ends on June 27th with National HIV Testing Day (#NHTD). To find resources to promote HIV awareness visit or to find a testing site visit:

World View: How the U.S. Compares in HealthCare

Davis_Mirror_2014_ES1_for_webThe U.S. healthcare system may be the most expensive in the world, but we’re not getting what we pay for in terms of quality.  A report by the Commonwealth Fund   says it performed worse than other industrialized nations when it came to measures of access, patient safety, coordination, efficiency and equity.  Among the nations studied were Australia, Canada, Germany, The Netherlands, and New Zealand.   The report looked at surveys of patients and primary care physicians from 2007-2009 and found that one notable way the U.S. differs from other countries is the absence of universal health insurance coverage.  The report also said other nations ensure the accessibility of care not just through universal insurance, but also with better ties between patients and the physician practices that serve as their long-term medical homes.  While the data used for the Commonwealth study is prior to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (signed into law in 2010 and implemented in 2014), it should offer a baseline and some insight into the improvement of affordability of insurance and access to care.

Other key findings:

  • Compared with the other 10 countries, the U.S. fares best on provision and receipt of preventive and patient-centered care.
  • Without universal coverage—people in the U.S. go without needed health care because of cost more often than people do in the other countries. Americans were the most likely to say they had access problems related to cost. Patients in the U.S. have rapid access to specialized health care services; however, they are less likely to report rapid access to primary care than people in leading countries in the study.

  •  Americans with below-average incomes were much more likely than their counterparts in other countries to report not visiting a physician when sick; not getting a recommended test, treatment, or follow-up care; or not filling a prescription or skipping doses when needed because of costs.

Our two cents: the expansion of Community Health Centers will ensure that more people in need will have access to primary care. We also know that health centers are more likely to see new uninsured patients than other providers, and their patients are more likely to have a usual source of care than the uninsured or privately insured.  Also, uninsured health center patients are half as likely as other uninsured to delay care because of cost, go without needed care, or be unable to refill a prescription [NACHC Fact Sheet].