Community Health Centers and the Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare or the ACA) of 2010 garnered international attention when it famously mandated that small business owners with 50 or more full-time employees would be required to provide health insurance coverage for their full-time staff. Though the long-term effects of the law remain to be seen, the Affordable Care Act did establish the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), which allows small business owners to directly compare different public health insurance coverage plans. These are large-scale effects, however. How does the Affordable Care Act change how community health centers operate, if at all? What will the ACA mean for municipalities where CHC(community health center) provide the bulk of healthcare services rendered?

Since much of the Affordable Care Act is concerned with expanding access to healthcare services, community health centers have seen a large increase in the number of patients enrolled since the law was enacted. Total patients served annually have increased from 17 million in 2009 to over 20 million in 2012, and community health centers have added over 35,000 new staff positions in the same period (including over 7,500 physicians).

The ACA has also provided significant funding for centers (CHC) (as of 2013) over the next five years, designating more than $11 billion for the maintenance and renovation of existing health centers. A portion of this amount will be used to create new in medically underserved areas (MUAs). As one might expect, medically underserved areas are localities in which the physician-to-population ration is far below the national average. Residents may not have access to even very basic healthcare services, hospital procedures, or professional medical consultation, so community health centers represent their best chance at receiving the care they need.

Physicians and public health advocates alike continue to promote the development of CHC across the country, as they represent an affordable solution to the lack of hospital care for millions of residents. CHC’s are also particularly adept at addressing several different health conditions, given that they often house professional medical staff with diverse medical backgrounds. The Affordable Care Act will allow these vital community programs to expand and further evaluate local demographics and their medical needs. Should more specialized services be required, the community health center provides a gateway for policymakers to assess how future federal funding should best be spent in the area.

Benefits of Visiting a Family Health Center Regularly

Seeing a doctor at least once a year is an activity often disregarded by many families in America. They just seem to not see its relevance until one family member suffers an illness or so. Are you somehow guilty of this? Basically, going to a health center regularly gives room for prevention from possible health complexities that may come your way. As they say, “Prevention is better than cure.” Not to mention cheaper and easier than actually treating a particular disease. Not only that! There are other services you can avail like abortion and skin care services all in one stop. Now, let’s take a look at some of the advantages you can experience by making a few changes in the way you treat your heath!

Over-all health

To start-off, you become aware of how your body adjusts itself year after year and lifestyle after lifestyle. No one is getting any younger and no one becomes as healthy as he or she is 10 years ago! That is why you need to get checked every once in a while. Awareness is king when it comes to having or maintaining a good health condition. The more you know, the more you pay attention to the inefficiencies in your over-all health thus the more you become health-conscious. Thanks to companies that must their employees to have annual medical check-ups and the benefits and discounts that come along with it. Take advantage of that and visit a family health center you trust! It is an investment worth-having.

Other services

You become familiar with the other services they offer and take advantage of the ones you really need. Family health centers do not only provide health services on primary care. Most of them also offer genealogy, medical cosmetology and reproductive health services. For women, there are skin care treatments and various legal abortion services offered. Imagine how helpful this is for you and your family. Instead of hopping from one health center to another, you get all the services you need in one place. And you get to have your much-needed privacy especially when it comes to confidential medical processes like abortion.

Continuity

Have you ever-heard of the phrase medical history? Well, yes. Continuity is an important part of knowing an exact data on how healthy you are. Annual medical check-up is really encouraged. If you face a very severe case, then there’s no problem asking for a second, third or fourth opinion from other doctors. But it is not enough reason that you go jumping from one physician to another. Wouldn’t it be great if there would be a specific person whom you can tell exactly what you feel physically about yourself without feeling too uncomfortable? Wouldn’t it be nice if there’s someone you can entrust your whole family’s health with? In an abortion procedure, such as, you get proper care not only in pre-abortion, but in post-abortion as well. Choose a reputable medical health center and capitalize on the health services they offer for you and your family’s own good. Health is wealth, you know.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Health Center

A family health facility is an important consideration when choosing your family’s medical care. Discovering the right health center requires you to consider the family needs, proximity to your house, genetic conditions, practitioners at the center and type of services provided at the center. When choosing a health facility, you need to consider one that is included in your personal insurance provider’s network. Once you find a center that provides the right medical services, then you will have found a valuable resource.

· Location

If you are looking for medical care that caters for yourself and your family, it is advisable to choose a health facility that is located near you. This way you will not have to drive many miles away to see a healthcare provider or to have diagnostic tests. The health facility you choose should be located in a convenient and central location that makes it easy for you to access from home, work and/or school. This will give you an opportunity to receive a quick blood test before going to work. You can also afford to take one of your children for a physical exam after classes.

If you have recently moved to a new neighborhood, you can ask your neighbors to recommend a health facility. Find out the layout of the neighborhood to locate an outpatient center that is located conveniently to your home. Consult the directory for insurance provider’s network to find a health facility that has adequate staff of covered physicians.

· Insurance coverage

When choosing a health facility, the health insurance cover is an important consideration. If your family is a member of any managed care plan, you will be restricted to healthcare providers within the insurance provider’s network. The insurance networks consist of doctors and health centers that have entered into a contract with your insurance company to offer their services to clients at certain rates. Some care plans offer their clients the option of seeing healthcare providers outside the network but for a higher cost. For primary care, it is advisable to select an in-network doctor.

· Services

The best healthcare facility provides a variety of services all under one roof and offers a lot of convenience. Some of the medical services provided include general practitioners, pediatricians, obstetricians, dermatologists, dentists, orthopedists, ophthalmologists- among other services. This gives you an opportunity to schedule an appointment with different specialists operating in the same facility. Some centers provide a walk-in clinic to cater for urgent care, pharmacy and diagnostic testing services, such as blood tests and x-rays.

Tips on Managing Your Student Health Center

Budget time is just around the corner. As you begin your planning process, follow this simple and effective checklist to be sure that your health center’s budget does not come up short:

Make your health center part of the solution to a student affairs problem. When planning your budget, consider how your requests will also help the student affairs department to meet its objectives, and then be sure to articulate that. For instance, when requesting additional staff, think about making a case for how having more qualified professionals on hand in your health center will better enable you to keep students healthy and enrolled at your university.

Think like an MBA. Not all of us in health care have a business background, but the people who we report to probably do. Learn what makes these analytical types tick. Use and understand their language when making budget requests. Terms to know and use include “return on investment” (ROI), “profit margin”, “quality assurance”, and “operating costs”.

Engage in “Show and Tell.” Even though we are health care practitioners, health and counseling center staff also need to think of ourselves as marketing professionals. Hopefully, over the past year you have done a little public relations work for your department. Newsletter articles highlighting your health center, health promotion literature or survey results all serve as reminders of the value that you offer to your campus. Prepare a packet that showcases your efforts. Make sure that you measure results from each initiative and include those in the packet.

Chart your success. Remember, you are not just asking for a budget. You are justifying that you deserve it. Recall all of the things that you have done over the past year to provide for a healthier student population. Then, be prepared to tell your story. Produce charts and graphs that illustrate how you’ve moved the needle in various areas, including decrease in incidence of disease, percentage increase in number of students who show proof of immunization, increase over last year in numbers of student visits to your health center, etc.

What to Expect at a Reproductive Health Center

A reproductive health center is a facility that is designed to help individuals and couples experiencing infertility find relief. This may be a troubling condition for many experiencing it, making counseling important along with the treatment process. Many reproductive centers now offer stress relief treatments and exercises as well as counseling services along with the fertility treatments and procedures that are normally available at many clinics.

When you first seek consultation at a reproductive health center after experiencing infertility, you will likely be asked several questions regarding your health and medical history, as well as personal questions about your attempts at conception. Be open with the fertility specialist and make sure you find one with whom you feel comfortable discussing these matters. Keep in mind also that these specialists deal with these issues every day and understand patients’ reluctance or hesitation to discuss personal matters.

In many cases, tests may be performed in an attempt to pinpoint the problem so that a solution may be worked out. Ask your specialist about the different tests being performed to help you understand the process. Diagnostic tests such as semen analysis, ultrasounds and cycle monitoring may be used to help determine the cause of infertility for many individuals and couples. Clinics may also investigate the possible causes of recurrent pregnancy loss if this is an issue. If the tests reveal the cause of the infertility, the specialist may recommend various treatment or procedure options and explore these options with the couple or individual.

Some of the more common fertility treatments available at many reproductive health centers include in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI). In vitro fertilization involves the combination of sperm and eggs in a dish in a laboratory to create embryos, which are then transferred to the uterus where they may implant in the uterine wall and develop. Intrauterine insemination involves the direct injection of sperm into the uterus where it may fertilize the egg to create an embryo, which may then implant in the uterine lining and develop.

A variety of treatments and procedures may be available to treat various possible causes of infertility. These include endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), among many others. Male infertility may also be treated at many clinics. To help patients through what can be a difficult time, many clinics now offer counseling or stress-relieving exercises such as yoga or fertility massage to help patients relax and manage their stress.