From the CEO's Desk
Terri Sabella, CEO
Section: Spotlight Articles, September 2018

The future clearly favors health centers who have become masters of their own data. Within the health center movement, there is an understanding of the unwavering commitment to quality that is a hallmark of community health centers.

As neighbors caring for neighbors, we hold ourselves to high standards, knowing that the care provided must be good enough for our mothers, our daughters, our friends. We are accustomed to accountability to our community and to HRSA. However, more and more our health centers are being required to objectively demonstrate this quality in order to remain viable as financial compensation is made contingent upon this data.

In August, we were reminded numerous times of the importance of data mastery. HRSA announced $125 million in Quality Improvement Awards to 1,352 community health centers across the United States during National Health Center Week. These awards were designed to recognize the highest performing health centers nationwide, as well as those health centers that have made significant quality improvement gains from the previous year based upon UDS data from 2017. Each Tennessee health center received at least one quality award. In addition, our efforts to advance our mastery of data through HIT was recognized with 26 Tennessee health centers receiving Advancing Health Information Technology for Quality awards totaling $141,000 statewide. Our Tennessee health centers should be proud of their performance on this national stage!

At NACHC CHI, the data and quality thread ran through every conversation -- from the Payment and Delivery Reform Summit where we discussed alternative payment mechanisms and value-based care/payment methodologies to the HRSA BPHC Quality and Data Update Sessions where 2017 UDS data was reviewed in the aggregate. It was clear in those conversations that data and quality were going to increasingly drive funding as we look to the future. Issues around total cost of care and the challenges of demonstrating return on investment with a partial picture were acknowledged. Strategies to gain access to data necessary to demonstrate the true value of health centers were discussed. However, these issues do not appear to be slowing the pay-for-performance transition.

At TPCA, we are committed to supporting your work in this area. We understand the need to ensure proper coding and documentation, scrub existing data, and develop skillsets to support effective use of your electronic health record and reporting tools. This can be challenging when your attention each day is properly focused on the patients who rely upon you for healthcare. Your efforts to master data and ensure it reflects the acuity of the patient population served and quality of care provided is recognized and valued. Rely on us at TPCA for the tools and support to take your organization’s mastery of data to the next level. We want you to be recognized and rewarded for all that you do, to ensure success today and viability and growth in the future.