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FQHC’s: More funds but big challenges


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.

Happier days at FQHCs


The big increase in support for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), which have received considerable bipartisan support over the years, has brought big smiles to FQHC leaders and patients who had feared that congressional gridlock would jeopardize the whole program.

The health centers have become the largest single primary-care system in the United States.

The Department of Health and Human Services will  distribute $169 million provided by the Affordable Care Act to open 266 new health centers in 46 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. That’s in addition to 700 new health centers opened  because of the Affordable Care Act.

The program seems safe at least through fiscal 2017 and probably indefinitely beyond.

Obama immigration action and FQHC’s


President Obama’s executive order on immigration, if upheld in the face of legal challenges, would substantially increase the number of people with insurance coverage and thus have major effects on the U.S. healthcare system, says this article in The New England Journal of Medicine,

The authors write:

“Although the President’s … policy is likely to have a positive effect on insurance coverage of undocumented immigrants, it may, counterintuitively, do more to increase access to insurance for legal immigrants and even citizens than it does for those directly affected by the planned executive order.”


“{T}he reduced threat of deportation may mitigate immigrants’ mistrust as they decide whether to pursue needed medical care, regardless of their insurance status. Ironically, any resulting increase in utilization may exacerbate the financial strain placed on safety-net providers that disproportionately care for immigrants, since many immigrants will remain uninsured if they are ineligible for Medicaid or premium tax credits. Policymakers will therefore need to continue funding streams to support providers who care for uninsured immigrants.”

Cambridge Management Group, which has worked with Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC’s),  which serve millions of uninsured and under-insured people, believes that the  Obama immigration action, if upheld, would tend to send more patients to these safety-net facilities. But litigation and Washington gridlock leave much in doubt. And would the Feds provide adequate funding to these FQHC’s?



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