Community Health Centers (CHCs) are facing a time of transition. Along with the Affordable Care Act’s opportunities for safety net users come challenges for the organizations that address the needs of the underserved and uninsured. While expansion of Medicaid potentially brings new clients, expanded insurance opportunities mean clients will have a choice of where to access health care and CHCs will have to focus on retaining as well as expanding their client base.
JSI is working with safety net providers in states across the country to implement the law’s safety net provisions and to creatively rise to the challenges it presents.
In some states, public and private organizations have entered into conversations on how they can work together in response to the need for health care coverage and service expansion under national healthcare reform. In other states, health centers are looking into ways to provide their own insurance products for the Health Care Exchanges being developed.
Many of these projects are still in the exploratory phase as organizations seek to understand the range of approaches. In Colorado, JSI is:
- Helping an insurer– Kaiser Permanente – create partnerships with local health centers that would allow people with Medicaid as well as those newly able to purchase subsidized insurance under the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange to choose Kaiser facilities or CHCs, depending on which is more accessible. A partnership is already in place in Pueblo, and JSI is helping to establish three or four more.
- Working with Metro Community Provider Network, a CHC in the greater Denver area, to explore a joint initiative with the mental health centers in the service area to create a potential product that insurers on the state exchange could contract with for integrated medical and behavioral health services.
- Conducting a demand analysis for Denver Health, one of the largest CHCs in the nation. The study, which includes school-based centers, will help the organization determine where it needs to grow or add new centers in response to need and changing demographics.
- Facilitating strategic planning for Integrated Community Health Partners, one of Colorado’s Regional Care Collaboratives, which is composed of a group of community health centers and mental health centers in Southern Colorado. ICHP’s vision is to be an indispensable health care resource for the communities it serves by: assuring every patient receives high quality, coordinated, safe health care; activating patients to manage their own health; and collaborating with patients, families, health care providers and the community in the provision and funding of their care.