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HHS Honors Community Health Centers for Clinical Quality Improvement

The awards go to the top 10 percent of community health centers demonstrating achievements in clinical quality.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) have awarded this year’s round of Gold Health Center Quality Leader digital badges to celebrate the community health centers with the greatest clinical quality improvement this year.

The digital badges are awarded to the top 10 percent of health centers that have achieved the best clinical quality within the Community Health Quality Recognition (CHQR) badge program, HHS and HRSA said.

“Health centers are cornerstones of their communities, providing essential preventive and primary care for more than 30 million patients who face significant barriers,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra stated publicly. “Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is proud to recognize our nation’s top health centers for their achievements in providing high-quality care to improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities across the country.”

HHS and HRSA started the CHQR program in 2021 using Uniform Data System information from the year 2020. The program looks at Health Center Program awardees and look-alikes (LALs) for improvement in access to care, clinical quality, health equity, health IT use, social risk factors screening, and COVID-19 public health emergency response.

The Gold Health Center Quality Leader badge goes to health centers that rank in the top 10 percent for the award year in terms of clinical quality improvement.

The community health centers (CHCs) included in the program are critical for building out the nation’s healthcare safety net, according to HHS and HRSA. HRSA’s Health Center Program supports folks who are uninsured, enrolled in Medicaid, living in rural areas, facing high healthcare costs, or experiencing social determinants of health that block healthcare access.

There are around 1,400 HRSA-funded community health centers nationwide, with nearly 15,000 care sites. These healthcare providers care for over 30 million patients who qualify for the social safety net. Nine in 10 patients served by CHCs have incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

What’s more, these facilities are favorable to the patients to access them. HRSA cited a 2022 survey showing that 97 percent of the patients going to CHCs would recommend them to family or friends.

Carole Johnson, HRSA administrator, said that the Gold Health Center Quality Leader badge is key to recognizing the community health centers that set the standard for clinical quality.

“Health centers are an essential part of America’s health care safety net, providing access to high-quality preventive and primary care in the highest need communities across the country,” Johnson said in the press release. “We at HRSA are proud to support and partner with these health centers, which not only provide care to patients regardless of their ability to pay but also consistently deliver excellent care that exceeds national quality standards.”

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