Do you know about Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs)? These are specific health centers designated to provide health services to uninsured and the most vulnerable groups in the community. They offer comprehensive primary care to those individuals or rather populations from low income levels to acquire primary care.
For instance, Cares Community health is one of the recent center designated by the federal government to help the underserved to receive effective and reliable medical attention and will receive a grant of $700,000 annually to meet its additional costs in serving the less privileged in the community.
FQHCs receive grants and other funding annually to help boost its operational costs. In the recent past, funding and grants for FQHCs has increased from $750 million in 1996 to around $2.2 billion in the year 2010.
This was meant to increase the number of FQHCs significantly so as to cater for a huge number of low income patients. The president of the U.S. recently proposed increased funding for FQHCs in 2016, 2017, and 2018 budgetary allocation to around $2.7 million. This is a positive move in helping these centers to serve the underserved in the communities.
The following are some of the major roles of Federally Qualified Health Centers:
Provision of primary health care to patients
The primary role of FQHCs is to provide effective primary care to patients regardless of their inability to pay medical costs. They are committed to ensure that all people from walks of life particularly those from low income areas have access to primary care. They are mandated to serve patients from vulnerable groups who are uninsured to receive proper medical attention particularly the children and the elderly.
For example, Cares Community Health, is committed to serving the HIV positive population and was recently put among a short list of FQHCs designated to serve low income patients from different communities.
Conducting office and home visits to patients
The role of FQHCs is to ensure that the overall well-being of low income patients are met and therefore they are bound to carry out home and office visits to some of its patients. This is meant to ensure that patients receive comprehensive health care regardless of their race and status. The FQHCs have other expanded reform roles stipulated by the federal law which is to take effect as soon as possible.
Challenges facing FQHCs
Despite some of its successes, the FQHCs face numerous challenges. Among the most common challenges faced by FQHCs are patient billings. Because FQHCs work with low-income patients, they face additional struggles in fulfilling accounts receivables and payments. As a result, FQHC billing is among the most common difficulties that these health centers encounter regularly.
Parallel and in addition to FQHC medical billing solutions, Some of the challenges facing these centers include the following:
Due to the increasing number of patients from low income levels, these facilities experience a lot of financial challenges thereby derailing their operations. This means that there is need for more funding and grants to help these centers meet their projected objectives and goals.
Inadequate primary care workforce
Despite attempts to increase the number of clinicians serving in the FQHCs, there is still a shortage brought in by the disparity in wage allocations. Many clinicians and physicians prefer working in private centers where they receive a hefty pay.
Other challenges competition from private clinics, inadequate facilities and inadequate support from the local leaders and politicians. All these are some of the major setbacks facing FQHCs. For more resources, check out this article that offers a number of solutions for FQHC billing consulting and training services.