FQHCs as defined by Medicare and Medicaid
According to Medicare and Medicaid statutes, an FQHC is a health center that receives federal funding under Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act to provide comprehensive primary care services to uninsured and underinsured populations.
Health centers originated under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 as “neighborhood health centers”. Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act established the Health Center Program, which provides federal funding for health centers. It also provided federal grants to community and migrant health centers to serve the uninsured. The FQHC program of today was enacted under the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of 1989 and expanded under OBRA of 1990. The legislation provided cost-based reimbursements to health centers for Medicare and Medicaid services specified under Section 330.
The Growth of FQHCs
In the early 1960s, there were only 8 health centers in U.S. Ever since then, the numbers have increased exponentially. By 2001, there were 748 health centers at 4,128 service sites around the nation, serving approximately 10 million individuals.
Federal funding for health centers has increased from $750 million in 1996 to $2.2 billion in 2010. The federal support has increased tremendously over the last 10 years. In 2011, there were 1,128 health centers providing care to more than 8,000 rural and urban delivery sites in U.S. and territories. Today, there are 1400 organizations with 11200 facilities serving about 25 million individuals every year.
The above chart shows the growth of health centers from the time it started in 1980 till 2018. Also, the chart shows the exponential increase in the number of patients served over the years.
FQHCs in various regions across U.S
|State||State Code||Number of FQHCs|
|District of Columbia||WDC||8|
|Northern Mariana Islands||MP||2|
Performance of FQHCs
The above chart shows how health centers have outperformed private practice physicians in every aspect of service.
The above chart shows a comparison between health centers and other providers based on the number of patient visits for various ailments.
The above chart shows the level of satisfaction of low-income patients. Health center patients have a huge level of satisfaction as compared to other low-income patients nationally.
Financing and Reimbursements for FQHCs
FQHCs are required by law to provide services to all people, regardless of ability to pay. The uninsured are charged for services on a board-approved sliding-fee scale, which is based on a patient’s family income and size.
FQHCs are financed through a mix of Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements (with different payment methodologies), direct patient revenue, other third-party payers (private insurers), state funding, local funding, philanthropic organizations, and grant funding from the Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC) of HRSA of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The above chart shows the revenue distribution of FQHCs based on payer source.
FQHC Revenue across all regions in U.S (approx. 2018)
|Location||Medicaid||Medicare||Private Insurance||Self-Pay||Federal Section 330 Grants||Other Grants and Contracts||Other||Total|
|District of Columbia||$130M||$19M||$20M||$3M||$22M||$37M||$5M||$239M|
|Federated States of Micronesia||$0||$0||$23K||$56K||$1M||$143K||$0||$2M|
|Northern Mariana Islands||$116K||$0||$3139||$1410||$799K||$0||$0||$920K|
|Republic of Palau||$0||$0||$39K||$1M||$674K||$50K||$0||$2M|
|U.S. Virgin Islands||$5M||$776K||$815K||$603K||$3M||$4M||$0||$15M|
Future of FQHCs
FQHCs have had a significant growth in the past decades. The above statistical data prove that FQHCs have the potential to serve more patients thereby improving the quality of care. In order to provide quality care improve patient experience, FQHC must invest in the right technology. HealthViewX Patient Referral Management software has provided the best use cases for the major challenges faced by the FQHC.
HealthViewX Patient Referral Management Software for FQHCs
HealthViewX has completely analyzed the workflow of FQHCs. We have implemented the following features for many of our FQHC clients thus positively impacting their workflow
- EMR/EHR integration – Our System integrates directly with electronic health records (EHRs). This enables healthcare professionals to easily obtain prior authorizations in real time at the point of care. It also eliminates time-consuming paper forms, faxes, and phone calls.
- Insurance pre-authorization automation – There are two ways in which HealthViewX solution automates the insurance pre-authorization process. The first one is the api-based method. Through this, we retrieve information regarding the forms and communicate information back and forth between the FQHC and the insurance company. The second one is the form automation method. Through this, we get all payer-specific form, fill in the necessary information and send it to the insurance company via efax.
- Intelligent Provider Match – The system has a smart search feature that enables PCPs to filter receiving providers according to their preference. The list is always up to date with the newly added specialty and imaging centers which makes it easy for the PCP.
- To and fro Communication – At any time of the referral process, the PCP and the center can communicate with the help of the inbuilt secure messaging and voice call applications. By this, the physicians can get referral updates easily.
- Referral Analytics – Customizable dashboards and reports provide information about the number of referrals sent, referrals in various status, referrals that were missed, processed and pending. It gives a clear picture for the FQHC and helps them in making informed decisions.
- Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured (data from the National Association of Community Health Centers and the Uniform Data System (UDS) of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
- Goldman, LE et al. Federally Qualified Health Centers and Private Practice Performance on Ambulatory Care Measures. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2012. 43(2):142-149. *Fontil et al. Management of Hypertension in Primary Care Safety-Net Clinics in the United States: A Comparison of Community Health Centers and Private Physicians’ Offices. Health Services Research. April 2017. 52:2.
- 2015 Uniform Data System. Bureau of Primary Health Care, HRSA, DHHS. National Center for Health Statistics. NCHS Data Brief. No. 220. November 2015. Hypertension Prevalence and Control Among Adults: United States, 2011 – 2014. National Committee for Quality Assurance. Comprehensive Diabetes Care, The State of Healthcare Quality (2016).
- Shi L, Tsai J, Higgins PC, Lebrun La. (2009). Racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in access to care and quality of care for US health center patients compared with non-health center patients. J Ambul Care Manage 32(4): 342 – 50. Shi L, Leburn L, Tsai J and Zhu J. (2010). Characteristics of Ambulatory Care Patients and Services: A Comparison of Community Health Centers and Physicians’ Offices J Health Care for Poor and Underserved 21 (4): 1169-83. Hing E, Hooker RS, Ashman JJ. (2010). Primary Health Care in Community Health Centers and Comparison with Office-Based Practice. J Community Health. 2011 Jun; 36(3): 406 – 13.
- Shi L, Lebrun-Harris LA, Daly CA, et al. Reducing Disparities in Access to Primary Care and Patient Satisfaction with Care: The Role of Health Centers. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. 2013; 24(1):56-66.
- George Washington University analysis of the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Uniform Data System. Special Data Request, March 2018.