Posted by Michelle Mills on July 23, 2015 in CEO Update
This summer is flying by and I can hardly believe it’s the end of July! In the last four weeks I’ve attended four conferences and instead of July being known for Christmas in July sales, the month is getting a reputation as one of the busiest for conferences! There was a theme I heard at every single conference – and that was data.
Luckily, the conversations are starting to move from how do I get the data, to what do I do with all this data. We know that a big part of moving to value-based purchasing is having the data in hand to make decisions on how to improve the patient experience, reduce the cost of spending and population health. Rural communities in Colorado are actively engaged in this work and CRHC is proud to be providing technical assistance. For those critical access hospitals and rural health clinics participating in iCARE both quality and population health data are being collapsed to tell the story of health and wellness within the community. We will be working on continuing to expand these efforts to allow for greater recognition of your efforts at the community, state and national level to raise the awareness.
Yearly, the CRHC partners with ClinicNET to showcase the good work being accomplished by federally certified rural health clinics and community safety net clinics. Safety Net Clinic Week (August 17 -21) is a key opportunity to educate state and national policymakers about the communities that the clinics serve, the good work being accomplished and the need for support of our safety net providers. A federally certified rural health clinic is located in a non-urban healthcare professional shortage area and must be staffed by at least one nurse practitioner, physician assistant or certified nurse midwife who are on-site to see patients at least 50 percent of the time the clinics is open. In Colorado, we have 51 federally certified rural health clinics that serve approximately 194,400 unique patients per year with 630,560 annual visits. In many counties throughout Colorado the rural health clinic is the only source of primary care. We also know that rural health clinics are collaborating with critical access hospitals, public health, schools, businesses and the community at large to manage chronic disease and increase health and wellness through exercise programs and healthy eating/cooking programs. All of these efforts are accomplished by working together as a community or team, or as our urban partners call it a medical neighborhood, or a patient centered medical home approach. And although these are new terms, this is not a new approach for rural communities. It’s how we’ve always done things, a way of life, and a community approach.
What you might not know is that rural health clinics do not receive any additional federal funding to operate other than Medicare and Medicaid for patient visits, which leaves the rural safety net very vulnerable. Not only is the rural safety net vulnerable, but so is access to healthcare for people living in rural communities.
To learn more about Colorado’s healthcare safety net providers, I invite you to attend our virtual showcase on Monday, August 17th, 2:00 – 4:00 to hear the stories of four rural health clinics.
Share this article:
About Michelle Mills
Much is happening in healthcare. Check out my monthly CEO update for the latest in rural healthcare.