Patient Portals Essay

5549 words - 22 pages

Background, Objectives, and ScopeCommunity Health Centers, otherwise known as Federally Qualified Health Center is a non-profit clinic serving the uninsured, under-insured, and under-served population. While they mainly focus on comprehensive primary care, they also focus well as education, translation and transportation (1). Community Health Centers treat every patient within the community service area even if they don't have the ability to pay. They are also mandated to have a governing board of directors which is made up mainly from active patients and others in the community. Federally Qualified Health Centers are funded in many different ways. The first way is through federal grants under the Health Center Program and Public Health Service Act. They can also be funded from local and state funds. They do receive preferential Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement but the fee schedule is a sliding scale based on income (2). Community Health Centers are the safety net provider for a multitude of people and is the largest network of safety net primary care providers. Community Health Centers have also benefited from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 which gave $2 billion to CHC's over two years which resulted in serving 2.1 million new patients(3). Following the passing of the Affordable Care Act, more focus was shifted to primary and preventative care. The goals of improving access and quality to care will be focused through community health centers to create a more efficient system. By creating more access to primary care services, health care costs will decrease because by serving more new patients we can help them avoid the emergency room and instead go to their primary care provider. The Community Health Center Fund built into the ACA will give $11 billion to help CHC's increase their numbers and size as well as help create more efficient infrastructure to better serve the growing communities(4).Even with this new focus, the influx of new patients without growing resources in CHC's causes a problem. With fewer providers and more patients, CHC's face a challenge of treating all these people in a timely manner but still focusing on the patient-centered medical home model. CHC's have many obstacles besides just serving the under-served community; usually these communities have racial and ethnic barriers including language and cultural norms. They have limited resources with which to work with in delivering primary care and because of these resources tend to fall behind in health IT mainly to cost and resources constraints. They also deal with community wide public health problems and every-changing needs of the community. Another obstacle or problem health centers have a work around besides limited resources in both providers and staff as well as capital, they have a population that is transient.With CHC's being the trailblazers of improving primary care via the ACA, they will need to focus on ways to have better patient outcomes...

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