Access to Care

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

2020 data shows sustained access to care at Aunt Martha's health centers throughout 2020

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

2020 data shows sustained high quality care at Aunt Martha's clinics

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.

Olympia Fields, IL:  Aunt Martha’s Health and Wellness, one of Illinois’ largest Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), announced today its effort to expand access to COVID-19 testing to low-income populations and underserved communities across Illinois. Testing will be provided at no cost.

Aunt Martha’s was among the first FQHCs asked to participate in the state’s initial push to expand testing, and has to date completed over 13,000 COVID-19 tests in Cook, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Will and Winnebago counties.

“The data continues to show that COVID-19 is having a disproportionate impact on certain segments of the population, particularly communities of color,” said Dr. Charles Barron, Aunt Martha’s Chief Medical Officer.

Mobile unit removes access barriers

mobile health unit

“The mobile health unit is a vehicle – literally and figuratively – that allows Aunt Martha’s to promote health equity by breaking down the barriers that too often keep people from accessing care and services in the communities where they are needed most,” said Barron.

Aunt Martha’s mobile health initiative was created to not only increase access to COVID-19 testing, but also to offer health education and prevention, and connect communities and people with mobility difficulty access to health care options.

For information about upcoming events, or to schedule Aunt Martha’s mobile unit for an event in your community, send an email to

About Aunt Martha’s Health and Wellness

Aunt Martha’s serve over 105,000 children and adults each year with more than 35 sites, including 23 community health centers spread across nine counties. The agency’s integrated health home model offers value-based, coordinated services, delivering whole person wellness through the integration of primary and behavioral health care and linkages to additional support services that address social determinants of health. Aunt Martha’s has been continuously accredited by The Joint Commission since 1997.


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