Published by Seacoast Online
SOMERSWORTH — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will award $137,250 to Greater Seacoast Community Health, a network of community health centers that includes Families First Health & Support Center in Portsmouth, Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth, and Lilac City Pediatrics in Rochester.
The award money recognizes achievements in clinical quality improvement, and the overall value of health care in the communities they serve. It is intended to help the health centers further advance in those areas.
The $137,250 award is based on the following achievements by Goodwin, Families First and Lilac City Pediatrics in 2018:
* ranking among the top 30% of all health centers nationwide in overall performance on clinical quality measures ($36,250)
* having Patient Centered Medical Home Recognition at both Families First and Goodwin Community Health ($35,000).
* meeting or exceeding the Healthy People 2020 goals, which are science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of Americans ($32,000). For example, to achieve goals around mental health and substance abuse, Greater Seacoast Community Health hired an additional nurse to enable more patients to receive Medication-Assisted Recovery services; hired an acupuncturist to provide a non-pharmaceutical, holistic approach to treating pain and depression in patients with substance use disorders; and hired additional mental health providers to be able to offer more “warm handoffs” of primary care patients to mental health providers at the point of care.
* demonstrating improvement of at least 15% on a clinical quality measure over the previous year ($19,000). For example, between 2017 and 2018, the health centers increased the percentage of teens and adults who are screened for depression from 75% to 86%, and the percentage of prenatal patients screened from 73% to 88%.
* increasing the number of patients served and the number of patients receiving comprehensive services ($10,000). One way Greater Seacoast did this was to begin sending a family nurse practitioner to Community Partners’ Rochester facility one day a week, in order to make primary care more accessible to patients with severe mental illness.
* using Health Information Technology to increase access to care and advance quality of care ($5,000).
Families First and Goodwin have received quality award money annually since the federal government began giving it in 2014. It is meant to be invested in increasing quality, efficiency and access to care at the health centers. In the past, the health centers have invested award money in technology upgrades, staffing and purchasing diagnostic equipment so that patients can get more services in one place.
Families First, Goodwin and Lilac City Pediatrics provide primary care, pediatrics, dental care, prenatal care, behavioral health counseling, substance use disorder treatment, mobile health services, WIC, social work services, a pharmacy, parenting classes, playgroups and home visiting. For more information, visit GetCommunityHealth.org.
The Health Resources and Services Administration is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. HRSA is the primary federal agency responsible for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated, or medically vulnerable. For more information about HRSA and its programs, visit HRSA.gov.