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Newsletter Article


Community Health Centers to Share in $42 Million in Grants

By CQ Staff

October 24, 2011 -- Medicare recipients could turn to community health centers as the primary place for their medical care under a demonstration project federal officials recently announced, a program that will provide $42 million in grants over three years to 500 clinics in 42 states.

The Advanced Primary Care Practice demonstration, created by the health overhaul law (PL 111-148, PL 111-152), is designed to reward clinics for giving day-to-day primary health care to patients in an effort to keep them from getting much more expensive care in emergency rooms.

Clinics will get bonus payments for delivering quality care and for such services as helping patients manage chronic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

The money from the grants can also help health centers expand their hours, make same-day appointments and accommodate patients with urgent-care needs.

"The goal of this demonstration is to help patients get the care they need in a primary care setting rather than in an emergency department," said Donald M. Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. "When patients are able to use a health center as their primary source of care, it helps primary care doctors, nurses and specialists coordinate their care. Health centers will also use health care dollars more wisely as patients receive the right tests, right medications and right treatments in the right setting."

The demonstration will begin Nov. 1 and continue through Oct. 31, 2014. Participating health centers will be paid a monthly fee for each eligible person with Medicare that receives primary care services. CMS's Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, known as the Innovation Center, and the Health Resources and Services Administration will provide technical assistance to help participating community health centers throughout the demonstration.

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