Federally Funded Clinics as Effective as Private Practices on Most Quality Measures

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

Federally qualified health centers (FQHC) and their “look-alikes” are as effective as primary care practices, and better on some quality measures, according to a new study from the University of California, San Francisco. Because they serve the poor and uninsured, there have been concerns that they provide less effective care because they are serving more medically and socially complex patients. Researchers refute this, and the clinics will receive $11 billion from the federal government to expand their operations in the wake of anticipated primary care shortages as an estimated 32 million people seek healthcare under the ACA.

Family and primary care physicians could receive as much as 7 percent increases in payments under a proposed ruling from the CMS. The ruling is Intended to help primary care doctors improve patient care and lower healthcare costs long term by helping to transition patients back into the community following a hospitalization or SNF stay. If passed, CMS will make separate payments to a patient’s community physician or practitioner to coordinate the patient’s care after they are discharged.

More good news for primary care: of the 89 new ACOs selected to participate in the Medicare Shared Saving Program (MSSP), half are physician-driven, serving fewer than 10,000 beneficiaries, demonstrating that smaller organizations are interested in operating as ACOs. This correlates to our research, conducted in March 2012, that found that physician-led ACOs were the most common.

Following several years of slowing growth, global spending on pharmaceuticals could reach nearly $1.2 trillion by 2016, according to a report from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. Studies indicate that the market for drugs will nearly double by 2016, reaching $1.2 trillion compared with about $956 billion in 2011, an annual growth rate of 3 to 6 percent. Suggested factors for the growth are volume increases in the pharmerging markets and an uptick in spending in developed nations.

Looking for new ideas on cost reductions in the ER? We present several stories on this topic, from Mina Chang’s detailed pre-ER interventions, to those presented in our blog post on the nonelderly Medicaid’s use of ER.

It’s not too late to participate in our survey on asthma management. Describe your organization’s efforts to manage asthma in your population by July 27, 2012 and you’ll receive a free e-summary of the survey results once it is compiled

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