October 23, 2020

Throw health centers a lifeline by replacing outdated payment model

At this crucial moment before a second wave of COVID-19 crests and crashes, policymakers should confront a significant payment problem brewing within our primary-care safety net that, if unaddressed, threatens care for millions of Americans. Though much of healthcare has made progress with value­based payment models, most federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) remain tethered to an outdated, visit-based payment structure. Without change, many centers will not stay afloat for long. In her Sept. 8 opinion piece for Modern Healthcare, “Agility is the key to success for community providers-and for the future of value-driven care,” Tara Hoffman of California-based Borrego Health outlines the importance of FQHC services, particularly in lower-income and rural communities, and the steps necessary to adapt in a post-COVID reality. To support those concepts, policymakers must advance policies that enable FQHCs to re-invest and re-invent.

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