For Immediate Release
June 21,2013

Kaiser Study Indicates Community Health Centers Meet or Exceed National Quality Benchmarks

A new brief by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured in collaboration with George Washington University indicates most Community Health Centers meet or exceed national benchmarks on key quality indicators. Using data from the 2010 Uniform Data System (UDS) reported by health centers and the 2008 Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) for Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs), the study Quality of Care in Community Health Centers and Factors Associated with Performance highlights how health centers meet or exceed high-performance benchmarks set by MCOs, which also serve low-income populations, for three quality of care measures—diabetes control, blood pressure control, and receipt of a Pap test. The study also identifies factors that differ significantly between health centers with “high-performing” and “low performing” Medicaid MCO HEDIS rates.

According to the brief, providing preventive care and managing chronic conditions is difficult to achieve given that health center patients are typically uninsured which makes achieving the MCO high performance benchmark very rigorous for health centers.  Despite these challenges the study found that more than one in every ten health centers was high-performing and those high-performing health centers reported a diabetes control rate of 79 percent—17 percentage points above the Medicaid MCO high-performance benchmark. These health centers also exceeded the high-performance benchmark on blood pressure control and receipt of a Pap test.  

Comparing lower-performing and high-performing health centers, the study also found high-performing health centers were concentrated in specific states including California, New York, Massachusetts, and eight other states that only account for 18 percent of health centers. The lower-performing health centers were found in 23 states with nearly one-third located in Louisiana, Texas, or Florida. The study’s authors indicate that the higher uninsured rate and extremely high homeless rate among lower performing health center patients may point to the lower-performance rather than the quality of care provided.

They also note that the “share of patients with Medicaid was roughly one-third in both groups, but lower-performing health centers had significantly smaller shares of patients with Medicare and privately insured patients.” The study’s authors also found that  Medicaid revenue per Medicaid patient was 30% higher at high-performing health centers than that in lower-performing health centers at $652 compared to $496, suggesting that the Affordable Care Act’s health coverage expansion may help improve health center performance and “ensure that this mainstay of the primary care safety-net remains strong and resilient.”

To read the brief please visit:


Bookmark and Share

NACHC Sponsors Covidien Ad