Community Hospitals
e-Newsletter
Intelligence Unit Special Reports Special Events Subscribe Sponsored Departments Follow Us

Twitter Facebook LinkedIn RSS

Community Health Centers Poised for Expansion

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, September 4, 2013

Spend any time around these community health centers and the people who run them and it's hard not to be impressed, both with their dedication to their mission, and with the cost-effectiveness with which they deliver care.

Primary Care Starts Here
Community health centers have been around for close to a half-century because they deliver on both of those values. "If you look at healthcare as a triangle, we are the base of primary preventive care," Wiltz says.

"If we do our jobs correctly, if we bring people in and screen them for diseases and get those diseases under control and manage them and not always be reactionary, if we get people to quit smoking and lose weight, and exercise, do the cancer screenings and heart disease and do the things we do well then we can keep people from getting secondary and tertiary diseases, doing the prenatal care to protect against low birth weight bottles or preventing baby bottle tooth decay. That is our whole emphasis."

"I have been doing this for 30 years. I see patients now who I saw when they were 40 years old and got them to quit smoking and now they are 70 and they haven't had a heart attack or a stroke or developed cancer. That is the benefit of what we do."

Unfortunately for Wiltz and the people he serves his health center is in Louisiana, which is one of the 20 or so states that have opted out of the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Comments are moderated. Please be patient.

3 comments on "Community Health Centers Poised for Expansion"


Robert C. Bowman, M.D. (9/12/2013 at 12:23 PM)
Dr. Wiltz faces more adversity as he is in a state ranked 40th in CHC economic impact per person. As with the US design for health spending, most states fall short while 6 states benefit. Six of the top 10 states in CHC economic impact have the top concentrations of physicians and top economic impact from all other sources. Also rural CHCs fail to receive a share based on need - likely due to 1000 rural counties that benefit little by various state and federal designs. Many are simply not aware of CHC, FQHC, or Rural Health Clinics. They suffer most from lowest education, health, and other government spending - by design. They also suffer under pay for performance and highest readmission penalities (1 - 2%) - 14% of the hospitals in these 1000 counties, 9% for rural, 3% of urban hospitals. As 30 - 50% of Critical Access Hospitals close due to new federal recommendations, the strain on rural CHCs will be even greater. We should not have designs that send less spending and close facilities and drive off clinicians where there is least health spending per person and fewest clinicians. Our nation fails to produce the clinicians that will accept the family practice positions of CHCs with MD 7%, DO 17%, NP 25%, and PA 23% found in family practice positions. All including RNs have little primary care or underserved primary care training as well. NACHC has been working with A T Still University for over 16 years to produce the PAs, dentists, and osteopathic physicians needed for CHCs. More is needed. State primary care associations should have MD, DO, NP, PA, and RN students embedded in CHCs for preparation, training, and obligation - all specific to family practice positions where most needed. We need designs for most Americans rather than current designs favoring few.

Todd (9/5/2013 at 11:39 PM)
Its about time you expand. FQHCs got a big windfall from Obamacare. Quit expecting urgent care centers to play the role of PCMH and primary care.

Jeanette Wood (9/4/2013 at 2:43 PM)
I applaud your efforts to expand days and hours to serve our communities. I encourage you to offer access 7 days/week to further reduce the use of emergency rooms for non-emergent conditions.