There are 28 Federally-Recognized Health Center Organizations in Alaska, operating more than 170 clinic sites across the state. Together, Alaska Community Health Centers (CHCs) see more than 100,000 Alaskans every year for medical, dental, mental health, vision and enabling services. Almost 300 jobs are directly attributable to CHCs, and another 173 jobs are indirectly supported in related industries. Alaska health center funding generates $37 million in direct economic impacts and almost $24 million in indirect impact.
Alaska’s Community Health Centers are leading the transformation of the health system in our state, so that ultimately care is patient-centered and integrated, health outcomes are measured and are accounted for in payments, and savings are generated by operating efficiencies that reflect innovation and quality improvement. By the end of 2014, at least nine of Alaska’s CHCs will be recognized as Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMH) – a model of care that embodies the above principles. By the end of 2015, the number of PCMH-recognized CHCs will rise to at least 16. APCA has three NCQA PCMH Content Experts on staff, with more in training. They serve as coaches for practices across the state to implement and exercise the concepts of PCMH. The CHCs are poised for 100% PCMH recognition by the end of 2018.
To sustain these system changes, a payment model that reimburses practices for non-revenue-generating care coordination is necessary. APCA and the health centers are once again in the lead, working with the State Department of Health and Social Services and the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority to test alternative payment methodologies that will support case management. This work will continue, as government and providers strive to improve quality and trim costs. This follows a national drive to convert the health care system from being volume-based to being accountable for health outcomes.
About half of Alaska’s CHCs are part of the strong tribal health system here. Through both the tribal and HRSA Health Center programs, they treat and serve all members of their communities. And both tribal and some non-tribal CHCs are welcoming Alaska’s Veterans into their clinics for care.
Community Health Centers are part of the community – they have a consumer-majority Board of Directors, they serve all who enter their doors, they engage in meaningful partnerships with other organizations to assure initiatives are tailored to their regions, and they contribute to the health and economic well-being of communities.
Community Health Centers are on point in health policy development.
Alaska’s Community Health Centers are helping to set the agenda for health delivery reform in the years ahead by being united, proactive and well informed about the health delivery issues that best provide for the health of Alaska’ s people. Our CHC’s have advocated for a sophisticated and nuanced approach to Medicaid expansion and reform, defended and advanced policies and practices for integration with primary care and have engaged in the fight for payment models that support quality and outcomes. The APCA, on behalf of our CHC’s, is now at the table for every major discussion about health policy development; and are identified as a critical member of the team to enhance the Alaska health care system. Our voices are being heard.