Iowa Community Health Centers Recognized for High Quality Care

September 23, 2019

Do you know a high-quality health care provider when you see one? Shockingly, defining and measuring health care quality has challenged our health care system for decades. It’s particularly challenging for patients to know if their chosen provider achieves high quality outcomes. Yet, community health centers have been collecting and submitting quality data to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for decades, and that data is publicly available for all to see. Iowa’s community health centers are proud of the high quality of care they provide, and HRSA recently recognized those outcomes with over $1.3 million in incentive grant awards.

HRSA’s Quality Improvement Awards (QIA) span six categories that recognize:

  • Improving quality of care, which includes three subcategories:
    • Ranking in the top 1-2% of all health centers in one or more clinical quality measures (CQM) that promotes behavioral health, heart health, or diabetes health
    • Ranking in the top 10-30% of all health centers in one or more clinical quality measures
    • Demonstrating at least 15% improvement in one clinical quality measure
  • Increasing total number of patients served and the number of patients receiving comprehensive services
  • Improving delivery of cost-efficient care
  • Meeting or exceeding Healthy People 2020 goals or making at least a 10% improvement across different racial/ethnic groups
  • Utilizing five Health Information Technology (HIT) services and/or telehealth services
  • Receiving patient centered medical home (PCMH) recognition in one or more delivery sites

You can read which awards each health center received in the table at the bottom of the page.

Iowa’s health centers received a total of $1,330,915 in Fiscal Year 2018.

Two health centers, Siouxland Community Health Center and Community Health Centers of Southeastern Iowa, deserve special mention. These community health centers each received the National Quality Leaders award, which means they ranked in the top 1-2% of all health centers nationally—literally in the top 28 of 1,400 community health centers—in one or more clinical quality measures. Several of our other health centers earned Health Center Quality Leader awards, placing them in the top 30% or higher for overall clinical performance among health centers in the country.

Of course, this isn’t surprising to us. We know that our health centers are doing incredible work. In 2018, our centers treated more than 216,000 patients over the course of 779,000 visits. Most of these patients (93%) are 200% or below the Federal Poverty Level while 47% are covered by Medicaid.  In serving low-income patients, our community health centers still manage to provide care at lower cost than other care settings. Our total cost of care is 27% less, and our patient-centered approach creates better outcomes for more people.

Health centers are a vital part of our country’s and Iowa’s healthcare system. They care for people who may not otherwise be able to afford care. They engage patients and families facing significant social determinants of health and work to address the medical and social needs of patients through their integrated care model. They boost rural economies by employing healthcare workers, improving the productivity of patients who use these services, and ensure access where other providers simply do not operate.

Iowa’s community health centers have much to be proud of. In light of the health and humanity they bring to Iowans every day, $1 million is a good place to start.

List of QIA recipient health clinics in Iowa: