National Health Center Week 2022: Innovations

National Health Center Week, an annual celebration to raise awareness of the accomplishments of community health centers, will be held August 7-13. Join us in celebrating the innovative ways health centers care for their patients and communities. Read on to learn more about how community health centers are health care leaders in this weeks' TPCA blog.
National Health Center Week (NHCW) is an annual celebration to raise awareness of the mission of community health centers and recognize their accomplishments. As NHCW 2022 approaches, we are reflecting on how health centers employ innovative approaches that make them leaders in quality and cost-effective care. 
Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition 
By nature, the community health center model lends itself to a patient-centered and team-based approach to care. However, health centers can achieve Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) status, a formal designation that recognizes providers for providing comprehensive, coordinated care with an emphasis on quality improvement that is accessible and patient-centered.1 Health centers are more likely to achieve Patient Centered Medical Home status than other providers.2 Seventy-seven percent of community health centers nationally, and 66% in Tennessee have achieved Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) recognition.3 
Patient-Centered Care 
Patient-centered care places patients as decision makers in their own health care journey.4 For patients to be partners in decision making, health centers must provide care that is culturally competent and linguistically appropriate, respecting the context within which the patient makes decisions. Patients are given the information and tools they need to be partners to drive decisions about their health.
Comprehensive Care 
Health centers provide comprehensive services, integrating primary care with services such as behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment, dental, pharmacy to meet the clinical needs of their patients. Beyond medical care, health centers provide services and support that treat the whole person, recognizing that patients have needs related to transportation, housing, food, and community services. 
Coordinated Care
The integrated care model naturally supports team-based care in which different provider types (ex: nurse practitioners, case managers, clinical pharmacists, behavioral health providers) work together to meet the physical, mental/emotional, and social needs of their patients. 

Beyond internal care teams, health centers monitor patients as they interact with other elements of the health care system, including specialists, hospitals, and community organizations. Coordinating care with other providers ensures health centers can provide the right care at the right time to their patients. 
Accessible Care 
Health centers with PCMH status provide convenient hours and services to their patients including clinics that are open late or on the weekends to accommodate their patients' schedules. Patients are also able to speak with providers after hours.  
Safe and Quality Care 
The PCMH program emphasizes continuous quality improvement, in which health centers employ evidence-based practices, using up-to-date research and information to provide the best care possible. Health center providers rely on tools and technology including functions of electronic health records (EHRs) to understand their patients' needs and inform clinical decisions.  
Cost-Effective Care 
Utilizing care models such as the PCMH program, allows health centers to deliver high-quality, cost-effective care. Health centers are increasingly engaging in new financial models of care that reward value. Nationally, 37% of health centers can receive financial incentives for improved patient satisfaction while 39% participate in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).5 ACOs are groups of providers who come together to provide coordinated care to a patient population.6 Seventy-five percent of health centers could receive financial incentives for achieving clinical care targets.7 When it comes to patients with Medicaid coverage, health centers save 24% compared to other providers.8 Costs are also lower at health centers for Medicare patients than other providers - 10% lower than outpatient providers and 30% lower than outpatient clinics.9 Overall, health centers save more than $1,200 per year compared to other providers.10 
How You Can Help
The health center model of care engages the patient and care teams to ensure patients receive the right care at the right time to improve health and well-being. You can help by becoming a health center advocate to ensure that health centers can provide high-quality, cost-effective care, contributing value to their patients and the health care system.  
[1]  Defining the PCMH | Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. (2022). Retrieved from 
[2]  Community Health Center Chartbook 2022. (2022). Retrieved from
[3]  Ibid.
[4]  Defining the PCMH | Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. (2022). Retrieved from
[5]  Community Health Center Chartbook 2022. (2022). Retrieved from
[6]  Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs): General Information | CMS Innovation Center. (2022). Retrieved 1 August 2022, from
[7]  Community Health Center Chartbook 2022. (2022). Retrieved from
[8]  Ibid.
[9]  Ibid.
[10]  Ibid.



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