Uncover the transformative impact and hidden opportunities that arise when you truly harness the power of your FQHC’s outreach initiative.
One of the most significant benefits of robust FQHC outreach initiatives is their ability to increase awareness within the community. Many individuals living in underserved areas may not even be aware that FQHCs exist or that they provide a wide range of healthcare services, often on a sliding fee scale based on income. Outreach efforts, such as community health fairs, educational workshops, and informational campaigns, can effectively disseminate this crucial information, empowering individuals to take charge of their health.
The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) recently published a case study highlighting how one FQHC faced some big funding challenges but used community outreach to identify and serve patients. How did the Partnership Community Health Center (PCHC) conduct a successful outreach program to serve their area better.
FQHC Outreach: A Success Story
The power of FQHC outreach is not limited to individual health. It also contributes to the economic and social well-being of communities. No one knows this better than PCHC in central Wisconsin. Serving three counties, these freestanding clinics were awarded their FQHC status in 2004. Just nine years later, the Governor declined to establish a State-Based Marketplace (SBM) under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) while blocking Medicaid expansion. At the same time, Wisconsin Medicaid (BadgerCare Plus) changed their coverage. It was a confusing time, but PCHC secured additional federal funding for outreach and enrollment to fill in the gaps in coverage for residents.
PCHC focused first on low-income patients transitioning off Medicaid but actively in treatment for a health condition. Concerned these patients would have their care disrupted, PCHC swung into action by identifying these target audiences and educating them on their options.
PCHC also organized efforts to launch an educational campaign about FQHC services. Not surprisingly, these advertisements were bilingual or even trilingual—FQHC outreach initiatives often break down language and cultural barriers that prevent individuals from seeking healthcare. Many underserved communities are diverse, with residents who speak various languages and come from different cultural backgrounds.
As outreach counselors reached more people in the community, there was a concern that high enrollment demands would bog down FQHC responses. PCHC partnered with the local United Way to leverage their popular 211 hotline to field resident’s calls and trained 211 staff to screen these patients.
Proactive treatment is a cornerstone of the FQHC philosophy. PCHC took the unusual approach of collaborating with regional farmer’s markets to launch a Summer RX for Healthy Living program. The Summer RX issued patients a “prescription” for fresh produce and provided counseling on healthy living. More than 800 families participated in that first year.
PCHC also worked with the area school district to enroll uninsured students in primary care, dental, and other services. Finally, the FQHC expanded its work in the local immigrant community, providing wellness, medical, and dental care.
Ultimately, the organization’s outreach program:
- Increased total FQHC patients by 5.2%.
- Reduced self-pay/uninsured patients by 20.5%
- Increased Medicaid patients by 20.2%.
- Reduced uncompensated care by 55%.
To read the entire case study, click here.
FQHC Outreach Partners
At UHC Solutions, we believe in FQHC outreach to share the stories of our community health partners. We are evangelists, working every day to recruit healthcare professionals into FQHC organizations. Our team believes in the mission of community healthcare. To find out why we are the leading FQHC recruiting firm in the nation, contact us.