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Special Report: The Deteriorating Financial Health of New York's Health Centers

Special Report: The Deteriorating Financial Health of New York's Health Centers

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Published by: pcdc1993 on Aug 23, 2009
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Special Report:The DeterioratingFinancial Healthof New York State’sHealth Centers
March 2009
PrePared by:
Primary Care Development Corporation
bout 1.5 million New York State residents depend on health centers or primary and preventivecare. Financial distress among an increasing number o health centers has become agrowing concern to the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) and the Primary CareDevelopment Corporation (PCDC).Within the last several years, NYSHealth has received growing numbers o requests or nancial assistancerom nancially distressed health centers seeking to maintain primary care access in their communities.In its role as the largest nonprot nancer o health centers in New York, PCDC also began seeing signs onancial distress among a growing number o the health centers with which it works.To better understand the underlying actors that aect the viability o health centers, and thesector as a whole, NYSHealth engaged PCDC to conduct an in-depth assessment o the nancialviability o New York State’s health centers. PCDC’s work and mission to expand and enhanceprimary and preventive health care in underserved communities made it well positioned toundertake the assessment. In partnership with researchers rom Health Management Associates,PCDC undertook a thoroughgoing study o the nancial condition o New York State’s health centersector.In this issue brie, PCDC presents key ndings rom the study, which examines nancial trends rom2001 to 2007.
These preliminary ndings are shared in advance o releasing the ull study (projected ormid-April) because they have signicant importance on current budget and health reorm discussions inState government and in communities throughout New York State.The issue brie seeks to answer the question, “How broad and deep is the nancial distress in the healthcenter sector?” The ull report will address the causes and contributors to the nancial distress; describevariation in nancial wellbeing by health center geography, size, and Federal program participation;discuss the potential causes and contributors to these trends; and provide recommendations orpolicymakers and unders in their eort to respond to this looming crisis in New York State.
Special Report: The Deteriorating Financial Health of New York State’s Health Centers
1 This study drew primarily rom auditor-prepared elements o the New York State Department o Health Ambulatory Health Care Facility reports (AHCF-1)or calendar years 2001 through 2007. Centers were included i data met standards o completeness and reliability. Sample size ranged rom 57 centers in2001 to 66 in 2007.
Special Report: The Deteriorating Financial Health of New York State’s Health Centers
ealth centers (technically Comprehensive Diagnostic and Treatment Centers)are a vital source o primary care or underserved communities o New YorkState whose residents tend to be low-income amilies who are either uninsured orenrolled in Medicaid and other public insurance programs. In 2007 there were 95 suchhealth centers operating more than 400 sites and providing more than 5 million visits to approximately1.5 million patients.Located throughout the State—upstate and downstate, across urban, suburban, and rural communities—most o these health centers are in communities that the Federal government has designated as medicallyunderserved, where patients have ew—i any—primary care alternatives should the health centers close.The centers included in this study include both Federally Qualied Health Centers (FQHCs)
and non-FQHCs. In addition to health centers, hospitals and private practitioners are also important sources o careor these communities. These were not the ocus o this study, but they are subject to many o the samenancial and policy actors as health centers.The nancial distress evident in these ndings occurs at a moment when policymakers are pointing tothe critical need or primary care as part o the State’s agenda or improving access and quality o care.Primary care provides crucial services known to reduce health care costs, improve quality o care, andprevent and manage the rising tide o chronic illness that accounts or 75% o health care spending. Thisdistress occurs during an economic recession when health centers are more critical than ever or thecommunity-based jobs they generate as a source o care or the most vulnerable populations, and or theaccess to care they oer to those losing jobs and their health insurance.
2 FQHCs provide their services to all persons regardless o ability to pay. In return, FQHCs receive compensation rom the Federal government in the orm o acash grant to help cover the costs o caring or the uninsured, cost-based reimbursement or their Medicaid patients, and ree malpractice coverage.

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