Earlier this month – as I told our employees during a virtual, all-staff gathering last Friday –Aunt Martha’s was proud to join with the 1,370+ Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) across the country to recognize National Health Center Week. August is also when our primary federal funder, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), typically releases the latest quality, cost and impact data for every community health center in the country. The recent release of information for calendar year 2020, a preliminary analysis reveals, gives a new layer of depth to the already rich story of Aunt Martha’s work during the most difficult of years.
The information HRSA makes available draws on a core set of information which all FQHCs are required to report, including data on patient characteristics, services provided, clinical processes and health outcomes, patients’ use of services, staffing, costs, and revenues. With each year’s release, we gain a greater understanding of Aunt Martha’s position in the community health center space. 20 years ago, we were a health care start up, if not an upstart as well. Today the data shows Aunt Martha’s is a leader.
A Leader in Access
Sustained access to in-person, virtual care
Aunt Martha’s is a leader in ACCESS, growing our reach by investing in new communities and reinvesting in those we’ve long been privileged to serve. In 2020, over 12,000 patients visited one of our health centers for the first time. With all but one exception – Aunt Martha’s – no health center in Illinois with a reach comparable to ours (>55,000 patients) achieved more than 2% growth in 2020.
Ramping up telehealth services
Enabled by our rapid transition to a telehealth model, Aunt Martha’s health center staff pushed through the pandemic to keep our patients connected to their medical home and achieve 20% year-over-year growth.
A National Quality Leader
Sustained quality a testament to employee commitment
Aunt Martha’s is also a leader in QUALITY. Dr. Charles Barron, our Chief Medical Officer, and his team have worked incredibly hard to turn consistent improvement into sustained excellence. We have now another year’s evidence of the impact of their work as reflected in HRSA’s Health Center Adjusted Quartile Rankings, which illustrate Aunt Martha’s standing compared to other health centers after controlling for certain differences (e.g., patient insurance status, community demographics) that can influence performance outcomes.
In 2019, Aunt Martha’s average quartile quality score made us #13 overall among all of Illinois’ 45 FQHCs, and #5 among those which reported on the same clinical quality measures. Despite the pandemic, and despite a simultaneous period of rapid transition and growth, our health center staff rose to the occasion and delivered exceptional care. We are today, by comparison, ranked #7 for quality among all of the state’s FQHCs and #2 among our closest peer organizations.
Focused on Value
And Aunt Martha’s is a leader in VALUE. This begins with the medical home, the relationship between our patients and their care teams, and with Aunt Martha’s integrated model of care. It is a model designed to maximize the impact of every member of the care team and drive down the cost of care. Over the period of the last 6 years, our focus on integration, quality and efficiency has helped us drive down our cost per patient by 15%.That’s a stark contrast to trends at both the state and national levels, where FQHCs have reported cost increases of 40% and 26%, respectively.
Looking more closely at the value of community health care
To more fully capture the impact of that effort, our analysis included the creation of a composite Value Score to represent, overall, a health center’s quality and cost. This metric distills the essence of value-based care to a single figure. It accounts for the breadth of the scope of a health center’s services, as well as the complexities of the people and communities it serves; and, when complete, the calculations place Aunt Martha’s at or near the top of any list of value creators in Illinois, if not nationally. That is a space we are proud to occupy.
Access. Quality. Value. This is our work. This is our story. Thank you for sharing it.