56% of federally qualified health centers report financial sustainability to be 'moderately or extremely challenging'

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Federally qualified health centers, which serve tens of millions of U.S. patients, face a myriad of financial, leadership and competitive challenges amid the shift from fee-for-service to value-based care, according to a survey from Sage Growth Partners, a Baltimore-based healthcare research, strategy and marketing firm.

The survey, conducted from November 2016 through early December 2016, represents 175 CEOs of FQHCs across this country and its territories.

Here are six findings from the survey.

1. The survey found 53 percent of FQHC leaders view revenue diversification as "moderately or extremely challenging." A similar number of respondents (56 percent) said the same for financial sustainability.

2. When asked what metrics they use to measure organization growth, FQHC leaders identified "patient growth" as the most tracked metric, followed by "visit growth," "operating margin" and "profit."

3. Existing FQHCs are participating in alternative payment models, with at least 28 percent in episode- or care-based payments and partial capitation, and more than 15 percent in bundled payment programs, according to the survey.

4. But the survey found 78 percent of FQHCs said it would take seven to 24 months to move to value-based payment models if a major payer changed its reimbursement model.

5. A majority of respondents (68 percent) said finding the right leadership is "moderately or extremely challenging."

6. A majority of respondents (61 percent) of FQHCs also said they believe competition is increasing in the next 12 months, and 46 percent said other FQHCs are competitors.

Read more about the survey findings here.


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