NEPA Vital Signs - Winter 2019 Spring 2020 - 11

WINTER 2019-2020

metrics. He mentions the important role
Community Health Centers (CHCs) play
in creating healthier communities and
adds, "A person's insured status should
never determine the quality of care they
receive. CHCs provide all kinds of health
services, including behavioral healthcare,
nutrition counseling, diabetes management,
dental services and so much more. The
government's investment in CHCs like
ours is vital."
Community Health Centers and 330
Funded Clinics - also known as Federally
Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and
FQHC-Look Alikes (FQLAs) - deliver
high quality care to all patients, regardless
of their health insurance status. If needed,
they provide care on a sliding fee scale
based on the individual's ability to pay;
they also must be nonprofit organizations governed by a patient-majority led
board. Individuals who are commercially
insured can receive care at FQHCs as well,
aligning with the intent to provide consistent, high quality care to all members
of a community.
Nationally, nearly 1,400 federally-funded health centers serve targeted patient
populations including veterans, agricultural workers/migrants and homeless
individuals, many of whom cope with
financial hardships, language barriers or
other special needs.

Nearly one in 12 people in the United
States - or some 28 million patients - rely
on these health centers for care, according
to the U.S. Health Resources and Services
Administration (HRSA), an agency with a
mission to improve health outcomes and
address health disparities through access to
quality services, a skilled health workforce,
and innovative, high-value programs.
To broaden healthcare access in Lackawanna and four neighboring counties, The Wright
Center for Community Health applied to
become a Federally Qualified Health Center
Look-Alike (FQLA) in October 2018. In May
2019, HRSA approved that designation, which
provides many, but not all, of the benefits of a
FQHC. Specifically, look-alikes do not receive
Health Center Program funding, but they are
eligible to receive higher reimbursement rates
from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services (CMS) to align more closely with
the quality of care delivered.
Officials who determine future CMS
reimbursement levels use a formula based
on Census data. Consequently, getting an
accurate count in 2020 will allow FQHCs and
other safety-net facilities to maximize their
efforts and reach patients who might not otherwise have access to affordable, high-quality
care. "Really, it comes down to data. For the
Census to reveal our true regional population
and help the government identify where it
can step in to provide appropriate support,

we have to ensure everyone is included.
We are trying to educate our patients and
partners, and explain why the Census effort
is so important. When we all participate, we
can bring federal resources back to NEPA
and strengthen our region, especially in the
realm of expanded access to right-venue
healthcare services," Dr. Sheth said.
An analysis conducted by the George
Washington Institute of Public Policy indicated that in fiscal year 2015, Pennsylvania
sacrificed about $1,746 for each person who
had not been counted in the most recent
Census. That dollar figure only took into
account federal spending related to five
HRSA-administered programs - not the
full spectrum of federal grant programs.
Obviously, there is much at stake for
our community when Census takers canvass our neighborhoods. Be sure to be
counted in 2020.
For more information about the 2020
U.S. Census, visit www.census.gov. To
learn more about The Wright Center
for Community Health, visit www.thewrightcenter.org.
MARK JONES, Grants Specialist,
The Wright Center for Community Health

Pennsylvania sacrificed about
$1,746 for each person who had
not been counted in the Census.

N E PA

11

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http://www.census.gov http://www.thewrightcenter.org http://www.thewrightcenter.org

NEPA Vital Signs - Winter 2019 Spring 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of NEPA Vital Signs - Winter 2019 Spring 2020

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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/NEPA_VitalSigns/NEPA_VitalSigns_Winter2019Spring2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/NEPA_VitalSigns/NEPA_VitalSigns_SummerFall2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/NEPA_VitalSigns/NEPA_VitalSigns_WinterSpring2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/NEPA_VitalSigns/NEPA_VitalSigns_SummerFall2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/NEPA_VitalSigns/NEPA_VitalSigns_WinterSpring2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/NEPA_VitalSigns/NEPA_VitalSigns_SummerFall2017
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