GW and Kaiser Report Analyzes Quality of Care at Community Health Centers

Recently, the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured (KCMU) partnered with the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS) to analyze the performance of federally funded community health centers compared to Medicaid managed care organizations (MCO). Researchers looked at key measures of quality of care – diabetes control, blood pressure control, and receipt of a Pap test in the past three years. The study also aimed to identify factors that differ significantly between high-performing and lower-performing community health centers. 

The report, by Peter Shin, PhD, MPH, an associate professor of health policy and Director of the Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health Policy at SPHHS, Julia Paradise of KCMU and others, found that most community health centers perform better than 75 percent of all Medicaid MCOs on two quality measures, and more than one in ten exceed this benchmark on all three.
In fact, few health centers were found to lag behind average Medicaid MCO performance on all three measures. The authors also noted that lower-performing community health centers have very high uninsured and homeless rates, while high performers have higher rates of Medicare and privately insured patients. That finding suggests that community health centers might very well gain ground on quality performance when the Affordable Care Act kicks in and expands coverage to those groups, according to the report.
The Kaiser Family Foundation with additional support from RCHN Community Health Foundation funded the issue brief, "Quality of Care in Community Health Centers and Factors Associated With Performance."