AHRQ’s Health Care Innovations Exchange Focuses on Access to Specialty Care in Federally Qualified Health Centers
The latest issue of AHRQ’s Health Care Innovations Exchange features three programs that improved access to specialty care in federally qualified health centers (FQHCs). One of the featured profiles describes a telemedicine program that provided retinopathy screening to patients with diabetes served by FQHCs. Connecticut’s Community Health Center, Inc. developed a comprehensive annual visit for patients with diabetes that includes retinal screening. Using specially designed retinal imaging equipment, trained medical assistants take digital images and send them electronically for evaluation by ophthalmologists at Yale Eye Center who are paid a flat fee for this service. The program has enhanced access to retinal screenings, reduced costs, and increased patient convenience and satisfaction. These successes have led the Connecticut legislature to authorize a demonstration project in which Medicaid will reimburse for remote interpretation of ophthalmic images. Select to access more innovation profiles and tools related to specialty care and safety net providers on the Innovations Exchange website, which contains more than 800 searchable innovations and 1,550 quality tools.
InnovationsElectronic Specialist Consultations Reduce Unnecessary Referrals and Wait Times for Specialty Appointments for Uninsured and Underinsured Patients 7/17/2013
A public health plan developed a Web-based software platform that enables primary care physicians in federally qualified health centers to consult electronically with "specialist reviewers" before referring the patient to a specialist, leading to fewer unnecessary referrals and shorter wait times for patients who need to see a specialist.Telemedicine-Based Eye Examinations Enhance Access, Reduce Costs, and Increase Satisfaction for Low-Income and Minority Patients with Diabetes 7/17/2013
A federally qualified health center serving primarily low-income, minority patients offers telemedicine-based retinal screening as part of a comprehensive annual visit for patients with diabetes, leading to enhanced access to screening, lower costs, and higher patient satisfaction.Formalized, Technology-Enabled Referral Relationships Between Medical Center and Community Clinics Enhance Access and Reduce Inappropriate Emergency Department Visits 7/11/2013
A collaborative program leverages information technology to connect ED patients to a medical home and patients receiving care at FQHCs and county health clinics to specialists, leading to enhanced access to care, fewer ED visits, and significant cost savings.Comprehensive, Shelter-Based Clinic Enhances Access to Oral Health Services for Homeless in Los Angeles 7/3/2013
A collaborative partnership between the University of Southern California School of Dentistry, Union Rescue Mission shelter, and other community stakeholders has led to free, comprehensive dental services available to homeless individuals in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles.Donated Care Program Enhances Access to Ongoing Care for Uninsured Patients, Resulting in Significant Reductions in ED Visits, Hospitalizations, and Costs 7/3/2013
CarePartners, a donated care program, matches uninsured Maine residents with primary care physicians who are willing to care for up to 10 patients for free. Case managers help enrollees obtain needed services, including hospital care, specialist services, and free or low-cost drugs through prescription assistance programs.
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QualityToolsSafety Net Accountable Care Organization Readiness Assessment Tool 5/8/2013
The Safety Net ACO Readiness Assessment Tool is designed for the leaders in your organization (and whomever else that you wish) to assess how ready your organization is to take on the responsibilities of becoming an ACO serving your population of safety net patients.