Survey of Federally Qualified Health Centers, 2017


Previous Commonwealth Fund surveys of federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) informed providers and policymakers about important developments: the diffusion of medical homes within the health care safety net, adoption of health information technology, and readiness for Medicaid expansion. With changes in health care looming, there is a need for updated information about the capacity of health centers to meet the needs of vulnerable populations. Trend data from 2009, 2013, and 2017 would provide valuable insights about the state of the primary care safety net before, during, and following implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Such information would also be needed to document investments made and to monitor health centers' capacity to meet their patients' needs if there are substantial changes in programs supporting care for vulnerable populations. The proposed survey will be based on the 2013 FQHC survey that SSRS conducted for the Fund. Using a list provided by the Bureau of Primary Health Care or the National Association of Community Health Centers, SSRS will send the instrument to the nation's more than 1,400 FQHCs. Informed by an advisory group of health center leaders and stakeholders, the survey questions will likely cover quality improvement, patient information systems, access to care and care coordination, and current and future program participation. Most questions will be the same as those in the 2013 survey, enabling trend comparisons. New questions are likely to probe health center leaders about their plans regarding ACA repeal, changes to Medicaid financing, and general uncertainty in the health care sector. The project will help track FQHCs' progress since the last survey and provide a much-needed baseline for assessing future change. The findings will inform stakeholder decisions about investment in FQHCs as well as policy and provider strategies for meeting the needs of vulnerable populations.

Grant Details

Grantee Organization:
Principal Investigator:
Robyn Rapoport, M.A.
Award Amount:
Approval Date:
April 11, 2017

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