HHS awards WA health centers $1 million for Quality Improvement Achievements, future expansion

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced on Dec. 9 the recipients of Affordable Care Act funding awards for Quality Improvement in health centers. Washington State collected more than $1 million of the $36.3 million total Quality Improvement Awards for meeting benchmarks in clinical quality outcomes.

There are four categories of awards and recognitions – Health center quality leaders, National quality leaders, Clinical quality leaders, and Electronic Health Record reporters.

Health center quality leaders are among the top 30 percent of health care centers for quality clinical outcomes. National quality leaders exceeded clinical benchmarks for chronic disease management, preventative care, and perinatal/prenatal care. Clinical Quality Improvers demonstrated at least 10 percent improvement in clinical quality measures between 2012 and 2013. Finally, EHR reporters were successful in using the system to report clinical quality measure data on all of their patients.

In Washington State, the largest total award went to Columbia Basin Health Association in Othello, WA. The health center received $15,000 for EHR Reporters, $32,333 for Clinical Quality Improvers, $39,833 for Health Center Quality Leaders, and $39,833 for National Quality Leaders.

Other top Washington recipients include: Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic ($77,846), Moses Lake Community Health Center ($101, 381), International Community Health Services ($84,169), SEA-MAR Community Health Center in Seattle ($95,899), and Community Health Association of Spokane ($79,236).

King County also received a nod of $17,208 in the category of Clinical Quality Improvers.

Washington’s sister to the South, Oregon also received recognition with two large recipients—Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Clinic in Cornelius Oregon ($83,781) and Multnomah County ($51,134).

HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell lauded 1,113 recipients in all fifty states and the District of Columbia with faith that awards would allow health centers to continue their good work.

“This funding rewards health centers that have a proven track record in clinical quality improvement, which translates to better patient care, and it allows them to expand and improve their systems and infrastructure to bring the highest quality primary care services to the communities they serve, “ said Secretary Burwell in a written statement.