July 26, 2019

Community Health Centers: a Key Partner to Achieve Medicaid Expansion

By Miguel Valdez Soto

Abstract

Medicaid expansion is an important feature of the “Affordable Care Act” and also is proposed as a component of some incremental plans for universal healthcare coverage. We describe (1) obstacles encountered with Medicaid coverage, (2) their potential resolution by federally qualified community health centers (CHCs), (3) the current status and limitations of CHCs, and (4) a proposed mega CHC model which could help assure access to care under Medicaid coverage expansion. Proposed development of the mega CHC model involves a three-component system featuring (1) satellite neighborhood outreach clinics, with team care directed by primary care nurse practitioners, (2) a hub central CHC which would closely correspond to the logistics and administration of current CHCs, and (3) a teaching hospital facilitating subspecialty care for CHC patients, with high-quality and cost-effectiveness. We believe that this new model, designated as a mega CHC, will demonstrate that CHCs can achieve their potential as a key partner to insure care under Medicaid expansion.

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