Chronic disease care at community health centers was comparable to care provided in other settings for underserved populations, but fewer than half of the patients were given proper care for a number of conditions, according to a study in Health Affairs.
For the study, researchers took a random sample of patients from an ongoing study sponsored by the Health Resources and Services Administration intended to evaluate quality improvement.
The study found that uninsured patients received lower-quality care at CHCs than insured patients. In addition, the authors found that centers with computerized systems for decision support provided higher-quality care than those that did not have such systems.
The study recommended that policymakers provide additional resources to improve care at existing CHCs if they plan to expand the facilities as a method of treating underserved populations (Hicks et al., Health Affairs, November/December 2006).