Disease Management Varies Among Calif. Community Health Centers
The state's community health centers -- which serve many individuals without health coverage -- very greatly in chronic disease management, according to data recently released by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Background on Community Health Centers
In 2011, more than three million California residents received care at about 125 community health centers in the state, according to the Times.
The federal government -- which has provided $11 billion in funding to community health centers -- has been tracking quality indicators on the centers since 2008.
Details of Federal Data on Community Health Centers
Overall, community health centers in California outperformed national averages on the quality measures, according to the Times.
According to the HRSA data:
- 63% of California community health center patients received timely cervical cancer screening, compared with 58% nationwide; and
- 65% of California center patients with hypertension had their condition under control, compared with 63% nationally.
However, many California community health centers did not meet national quality indicator benchmarks.
According to HRSA data, 44% of centers in California met or exceeded the national average for controlling blood sugar of patients with diabetes but still failed to meet national goals.
In addition, about 47% of state centers met or exceeded the national average for cervical cancer screening but failed to meet national goals.
According to clinic leaders and observers, the variance among community health centers likely is caused by:
- The amount of time invested in quality improvement; and
- Whether centers use electronic health record systems to measure patient progress.
Jim Macrae -- who oversees the health centers for the federal government -- said HRSA made the data public in an attempt to "peer pressure" the centers into improving care.
Carmela Castellano-Garcia -- CEO of the California Primary Care Association -- said the group is working with clinics to improve data collection and health outcomes. CPCA also is working to identify high performing community health centers in the state so that other centers can learn from their success (Gorman, Los Angeles Times, 7/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.