Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC)
Improving Health of Under-Served and Vulnerable Populations
Federally Qualified Health Centers are extremely important safety net providers in rural or underserved communities. FQHCs are outpatient clinics that qualify for very specific reimbursement rates and are billed under Medicare and Medicaid. FQHCs include community health centers, migrant health centers, healthcare for the homeless health centers, public housing primary care and health center program “look-alikes”.
FQHCs are uniquely positioned to be an important partner for hospital systems as healthcare delivery systems seek out new methods to improve health outcomes in response to capitated reimbursement. FQHCs have also demonstrated a strong ability to improve health outcomes while reducing unnecessary hospitalizations and lowering costs. They help underserved and vulnerable populations detect disease earlier, incorporate preventative health measures and education that lead to improved health outcomes. These collaborations take many forms including:
- Joint program development
- Co-location agreements
- Donation or Community Benefit Grants
- Lease of space, services, personnel
- ER Diversion
- Patient referral arrangements
A hospital and FQHC jointly develop a collaborative Obstetrics Program. The hospital provides the availability of a perinatologist, clinical and diagnostic support, delivery, marketing, and other acute-level services. The FQHC provides prenatal visits, outpatient care, monitoring and refers patients to the hospital for birthing.
Co-Location of FQHC & Hospital Services
The co-location of an FQHC with hospital services may result from various collaborative relationships including:
- The hospital as the lessor
- The hospital may provide a grant or donation to support development of the FQHC.
- The hospital and FQHC may have a referral relationship.
- The FQHC and the hospital may contract with one another for services.
Benefits of Co-Location
- Alleviates emergency department/urgent care crowding in the hospitals and the FQHC location has the ability to operate during peak ED hours.
- Can reduce ED wait times.
- Reduction in uncompensated ED costs.
- FQHC patients are in closer proximity to acute hospital services.
- FQHC and the hospital may share certain services and avoid duplication.
- The hospital may realize rental income.
Emergency Department Diversion
A benefit of co-location is often a reduction in emergency hospital visits. ED diversion programs may formalize such an arrangement and may include various elements.
ED Diversion Process
- FQHC establishes a satellite facility “near” the hospital.
- Non-emergent and non-urgent hospital patients are referred to an FQHC staff member in the ED.
- FQHC staff member and hospital discuss treatment options with patients and advise the availability of satellite.
- FQHC staff member coordinates the referral to the satellite for immediate care or via appointment.
- Transportation may be provided, as needed, for immediate care.
Advis has significant experience brokering successful affiliations between FQHCs and hospitals. Contact us at 708.478.7030 or at email@example.com to see how we can further assist you.