The Affordable Care Act has provided Federally Qualified Health Centers with new financial resources. However, a new study from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research cites continuing challenges at these centers, including the need for more stable revenue streams, sufficient staffing support, including training, and help in dealing with new reimbursement systems.
Researchers found that most FQHC’s now see more patients than they did before the health law went into effect, contradicting some earlier projections that newly insured people would leave the centers for private providers.
The number of insured patients using FQHC’s surged 35 percent, from 12 million in 2010 to 16.5 million in 2014, says the study.
“Most … saw an increase in the number of insured patients, both because they retained previous patients who became insured and because they attracted new insured patients,” researchers wrote.
The study also found that the number of immigrants seeking care at the centers grew 12 percent between 2010 and 2014, to 5.3 million. The 31 FQHC’s studied also reported that a common reason that patients were ineligible for insurance was that they were in the U.S. illegally.
The researchers found that federal grants awarded to FQHC’s as a result of the ACA provided needed funding to help serve the growing numbers of people using CHCs, particularly in states that didn’t expand Medicaid.
But the researchers added that much of the new funding is temporary, presenting possible long-term problems. Particularly problematic may me the predictability of Medicaid funding.
To read the report, please hit this link.