Community Health Centers Past, Present, and Future: Building on 50 Years of Success Briefing

On Tuesday, March 17, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) released its policy report, Community Health Centers Past, Present and Future: Building on 50 Years of Success.  Watch the event below. 

America’s Health Centers Celebrate and Gather in Washington, D.C.

50This is a big week for Community Health Centers as they celebrate their 50th anniversary and get ready to gather in the Nation’s Capitol for their annual conference. The kick off starts tomorrow morning at a national news conference hosted by NACHC.  NACHC will release its policy report, Community Health Centers Past, Present and Future: Building on 50 Years of Success, at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation’s Barbara Jordan Conference Center. The report will contain new projections of the impact of the health center funding cliff. Several health center representatives from around the country will talk about the impact of the funding cliff on their health center. The press conference will be live streamed from this link. The report will also be available online tomorrow following the news conference.

The health center funding cliff will also be a key focus at the 2015 NACHC Policy and Issues Forum (NACHC P & I), which is expected to draw over 2,500 health center professionals, clinicians, board members, advocates and experts. Speaker highlights at the NACHC P & I include: Doris Kearns Goodwin, Presidential Historian and Author; William V. Corr, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services; Judith Monroe, MD, Deputy Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;  Dr. Mary Wakefield, Administrator, Health Resources and Services Administration; Tom Daschle, former Senate Majority Leader and Founder of The Daschle Group. For a listing of conference events please visit this link.

We also want to give a shout out to our friends at UCLA Asian American Studies Center and the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO).  They are also marking the 50th anniversary of health centers with an event tomorrow at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. to launch a special issue of the AAPI Nexus Journal that will reflect upon the history of the development of health centers, and how far they have come. The event is called “From Safety Net to Model Quality Care for All: Commemorating 50 Years of Community Health Centers,”  the AAPI Nexus Journal launch of a special issue on Federally Qualified Health Centers serving Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. The event starts at 4 pm. To register please visit this link.

The Building Blocks of Good Healthcare

cci2Nearly half of adults with health issues report problems with the coordination of their care in the United States.  A fragmented healthcare system and the reliance of patients on multiple providers have helped fuel the trend, which is also a factor in medical mistakes and patient dissatisfaction.  That is why the Patient-Centered Medical Home model (PCMH), where services are coordinated and integrated with a  team approach, makes sense for  healthcare.  Community Health Centers (CHCs) are fast pursuing this model, with over 57 percent of health centers now recognized as PCMH.  Community Health Centers will be successful in this model if they can successfully integrate with the larger medical neighborhood. To help foster and guide this national transformation, the UCSF Center for Excellence in Primary Care (CEPC) has partnered with the Center for Care Innovations (CCI), a leader in cultivating and spreading innovation in the safety net, to develop the first of its kind online resource center for dissemination of these best practices in PCMH for CHC and other safety net settings.  The new web site identifies high performing and innovative models of care integration with examples of high performing innovators in a number of domains.

“Our focus is on innovations in Community Health Centers and other safety net practices, with some implications for primary care in general,” said Ashley Rubin, MS, UCSF Department of Family & Community Medicine project manager and content developer for the website.  “Our core belief is that the solutions we need will emerge as we continually share, test and refine the best future we can imagine. Keeping current on new developments and emerging trends are the first steps toward building good healthcare that is patient-centered and delivers results,” said Nwando Olayiwola, MD, MPH, FAAFP, Associate Director of the Center for Excellence in Primary Care, who was a former CMO of a large CHC system. “CHCs are always on the cusp of innovation, with a core belief in integration, and we are excited to develop this resource for them.”

The new site is also a repository for training, building connections, grant opportunities and webinars.

You can find the new website by visiting this link. 

Excellence Under One Roof in Milwaukee

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SSCHC) in Milwaukee, WI. began in 1969.

SSCHC) in Milwaukee, WI. began in 1969.

As part of our 50th anniversary celebration we are looking for stories about how Community Health Centers make a difference in their communities.  This time our search took us to Sixteenth Community Health Centers (SSCHC) in Milwaukee, WI.  The health center sprang into existence in 1969, just a few years after the first health centers were started in rural Mississippi and Boston, MA and recently celebrated its 45th anniversary.  It now operates out of five separate locations, including three full service medical clinics serving a total of 36,000 people.  That may seem like a lot of people to care for, but for Sixteenth Street the focus is on quality.  In addition to being accredited by The Joint Commission and recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance as a Patient Centered Medical Home, in December the health center was recognized as a Health Center Quality Leader, by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“I have always said that the emphasis in our agency name is ‘community health’ not on ‘health center’. What sets us apart is our dedication to the complete health of the individual as well as the overall health of the community,” says John Bartkowski, President and CEO of SSCHC.

In addition to offering a range of excellent primary care services under one roof–such as adult and pediatric medicine, behavioral health services, women’s health, HIV prevention and treatment and physical and occupational therapy–the health center also runs an array of heath education and community-based programs that support healthy living and foster community improvement.  SSCHC employs nearly 400 bilingual staff, many of them community residents and injects over $30 million of operating expenditures directly into the local economy.  Through its sponsorship of WIC, SSCHC also supports local farmer’s markets and purchases goods and services directly from local businesses.

SSCHC offers up a real world example of what is at stake when we are talking about the health center funding cliff. The health center faces a funding cut of up to 70 percent if Congress does not act to preserve the funding.  Such a cut would result in over 3,300 patients losing access to care, in addition to the bruising effect on the local economy.

To learn more about the health center funding cliff, please visit this link.

Health Centers Help Save A Million Hearts

Champions2014_FacebookThe Million Hearts® initiative has recognized 30 public and private health care practices and systems as 2014 Million Hearts® Hypertension Control Champions, and Community Health Centers are among those being recognized.  The goal of the national effort is to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.  The Million Hearts® Hypertension Control Challenge is a competitive challenge to identify practices, clinicians, and health systems that have worked with their patients to achieve hypertension control rates at or above 70%. These health center Champions used a variety of hypertension control strategies to accomplish that thanks to innovations in health information technology and electronic health records, patient communication, and healthcare team approaches.

“Our goal for next year is that more Community Health Centers will be recognized as Champions in this very important initiative,” said Ron Yee, MD, NACHC’s Chief Medical Officer.  “There is unprecedented commitment from the health center community to reduce the risk for heart disease and save lives through prevention and innovative clinical and community interventions.  We look forward to going deeper and broader to spread this impactful work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in heart attack and stroke prevention.“

The health center Champions are:

Denver Health Community Health Services, Denver, CO*

East Jordan Family Health Center,  East Jordan, MI*

Family Health Centers of San Diego, San Diego, CA*

P.S. Rudie Medical Clinic, Duluth, MN*

Peninsula Community Health Services, Bremerton, WA*

Roane County Family Health Care, Spencer, WV*

Southwest Montana Community Health Center, Butte, MT*

WinMed Health Services, Cincinnati, OH*

Good healthcare does make a difference, not just in cost-savings (to the tune of $24 billion a year from reduced visits to the hospital and ERs), but in lives saved.  This is especially important to consider when Americans suffer 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes each year. Cardiovascular disease—including heart disease and stroke—is the leading cause of death in the United States. Every day, 2,200 people die from cardiovascular diseases—that’s nearly 800,000 Americans each year, or 1 in every 3 deaths.

Visit this link to read more about how NACHC is participating in this important national effort.