- The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has awarded $125 million in grant funding to community health centers in an effort to improve patient access to care in high-risk and high-needs areas.
These awards come as a part of the Department’s National Health Center Week. Funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), awards to 1,352 community health centers across the country aim to drive healthcare quality.
Specifically, awardees will use funds to improve care quality, efficiency, and the effectiveness of healthcare delivery in their respective communities, HRSA said.
Community health centers are at the epicenter of improving patient care access and care quality for high-risk, safety-net populations, according to HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan.
“Community health centers provide coordinated, comprehensive, and patient-centered care to millions of Americans,” Hargan said in a statement. “They have a track record of delivering quality care at significantly lower cost, and are vital partners in our movement toward a health system that delivers quality, affordable, value-based health care for all Americans.”
The HRSA grants will also foster growth in patient care access, improve care quality, drive cost effectiveness, address health disparities, improve health IT use, and enable patient-centered care.
In issuing these grants, HHS and HRSA recognized Health Center Quality Leaders. These quality leaders exceeded certain quality benchmarks such as Healthy People 2020. They also ranked within the top 30 percent of community health centers.
“Quality, value-based care is a priority of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and HRSA-funded health centers serve as leaders in quality healthcare in the U.S.,” said HRSA Administrator George Sigounas, MS, Ph.D. “Nearly all HRSA-funded health centers demonstrated improvement in one or more clinical quality measures from the year prior, and these funds will support health centers’ work to improve the quality of care they deliver every day in their communities around the country.”
Community health centers are essential for supporting patient access to care among high-needs populations, working to drive health equity. Nearly 27 million individuals relied on community health centers for care in 2017, according to HRSA statistics. That is approximately one in 12 Americans, the group said.
Specifically, one in nine children access community health centers. Community health centers serve one in five rural residents, one in three people living in poverty, and approximately 355,000 veterans.