This article is part four of a six-part blog series with Dr. Brad Jones.
CHCs Saves Money for Medicaid
There was an article published in the American Journal of Public Health1 showing that, compared to non-health centers, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) in the US save 24% in total spending and 33% in primary care spending per Medicaid patient. Despite that, only about 1 in 6 Medicaid beneficiaries are typically served by community health centers (CHC).2 Accordingly, when considering Medicaid expansion and serving underprivileged populations, I believe that FQHCs such as community health centers can play a central role to enable both to occur in a cost-effective way.
Two Sides of the Same Coin
From my perspective, the state-level Medicaid C-suite and CHC C-suite are two sides of the same coin. They serve the same population group and, generally speaking, operate based on similar missions and objectives. For Medicaid administrators, it’s about understanding the demographics and socio-cultural drivers, how they relate to the health outcomes, and then using that to help inform policy and program development. With respect to the CHC CEO’s, it’s essentially the same thing, just substituting “policy” for “service delivery.”
Based on the findings in the AJPH article, helping community health centers market themselves to Medicaid-eligible populations can drive down Medicaid costs and, as a consequence, enable more cost-effective implementation of state-level Medicaid plans — whether expansion-based or not — across the nation. Accordingly, as much as possible, it is important to help CHC CEOs identify and understand the size and scope of Medicaid-eligible populations in their markets that are not utilizing their services. We can then help CHC’s develop marketing strategies specifically aimed at increasing the number of Medicaid beneficiaries that utilize them for primary care. This will obviously benefit CHC’s bottom lines by increasing the overall number of patients they serve. Additionally, per the AJPH article, there is a strong likelihood that this will benefit the bottom lines for many state-level Medicaid agencies by decreasing their spending due to more of their beneficiaries being served by CHC’s. This is a classic example of a “win-win” proposition, and we at Truitt Health are uniquely equipped to facilitate it.
[Look for part five of this six-part blog series next week!]
1Nocon, R.S., Lee, S.M., Sharma, R., Ngo-Metzger, Q., Mukamel, D.B., Gao, Y., White, L.M., Shi, L., Chin, M.H., Laiteerapong, N., & Huang, E.S. Health Care Use and Spending for Medicaid Enrollees in Federally Qualified Health Centers Versus Other Primary Care Settings. American Journal of Public Health, 106, 11, 1981-1989.
2National Association of Community Health Centers. Community Health Center Chartbook. January 2019. Accessed March 3, 2019 at http://www.nachc.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Community-Health-Center-Chartbook-FINAL-1.28.19.pdf.