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Major CA FQHC Connects to Nonprofit Health Information Exchange

The Southern California federal qualified health center (FQHC) provides low-and-no-cost healthcare to Los Angeles County’s underserved population.

Arroyo Vista Family Health Center, a Los Angeles-based federally qualified health center (FQHC), has connected to the Los Angeles Network for Enhanced Services (LANES) nonprofit health information exchange (HIE) to gain access to its patient data exchange platform and boost care coordination.

The family health center will leverage LANES HIE data insights, along with its population health tool to improve patient care.

Arroyo Vista has monitored roughly 100 high-risk California Medi-Cal Health Homes Program (HHP) patients. HHP aids eligible, complex Medi-Cal beneficiaries who could require enhanced care management.

Most California residents who earn less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for healthcare coverage through Medi-Cal. In 2019, FQHCs that utilized Medicaid coverage offered better patient care and behavioral health access than those not covered by Medicaid, according to a Commonwealth Fund study.

"Homeless individuals, by definition, meet high-risk criteria. They often have multiple chronic conditions and are difficult to reach by nature of their condition," Alex Cotté, MHA, director of Managed Care Services at Arroyo Vista, said in a statement. "By having this subpopulation accessible for tracking in LANES, our care coordinators can determine if any of their patients checked into a healthcare facility within proximity."

Arroyo Vista’s five FQHCs will utilize LANES to gain real-time hospital admissions, discharges, and test result data. LANES identifies early intervention and high healthcare resource patients.

"Understanding the direct correlation of social determinants of health with clinical outcomes, our ultimate goals using LANES is to participate in the Health Homes Program to enhance internal resources including readiness of tools to better assess our population health needs, and link patients to timely and appropriate outreach," said Cotté.

According to numerous studies, medical practices that integrate and utilize HIE can decrease emergency department (ED) visits and unplanned 30-day hospital readmissions. Readmissions are typically associated with increased financial costs and adverse patient care.

"We use the patient's healthcare encounters captured in LANES as a way to engage with our managed care members and local providers to assure appropriate case management," Cotté said. "We can inform that individual's care plan if issues are experienced and confirmed at one or more healthcare facilities."

Arroyo Vista noted the HIE’s ability to expand its community provider referrals as a prime reason it tapped LANES.

"It's been extremely helpful to have visibility across venues of care where other clinicians are interacting with our HHP patient enrollees and who are in the LANES network," Cotté remarked. "These providers need shared patient data too, since they are fully engaged with us in the HHP care coordination process."

The number of California FQHCs and the number of patients that visited them increased by 37 percent between 2013 and 2017, according to the 2019 California Healthcare Safety Net.

In 2017, 62 percent of all hospital inpatient and 72 percent of outpatient visits occurred at nonprofit health centers. In that year, FQHCs saw 4.7 million patients with Medi-Cal providing most of the funding for these patients.

"At Arroyo Vista, LANES supports population health initiatives like the Health Homes Program where patients with comorbidities require special care along with temporary housing, medical transportation and more to treat social determinants of health conditions,” said Ali Modaressi, LANES CEO. “Arroyo Vista successfully demonstrates the power of informed clinical decision-making to manage effective care of a target population."

Add Arroyo Vista to the list of Southern California FQHCs that leverage LANES to gain increased information access and boost primary care.

Last year, South Central Family Health Center, Via Care Community Health Center, South Bay Family Health Care, San Fernando Community Health Center, and Universal Community Health Center all signed contracts with LANES. These five FQHCs historically provide healthcare to a disadvantaged and uninsured population in the Los Angeles area.

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