The majority of LA area health clinics are not fully prepared for the influx of new patients expected under Obamacare. That’s the conclusion of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research which issued a brief on the topic this month.
The UCLA brief examined Community Health Clinics in LA and assigned them a numerical readiness score from one to five. Those scoring a one or two (low readiness) were 39 percent of the total. That equaled the number of clinics scoring a four or five (high readiness).
One of the key items considered in the rating was whether or not clinics had been recognized as a “patient centered medical home.” This qualification is given out by the National Committee for Quality Assurance and requires the clinic to help manage care, including specialist care that takes place outside the clinic. UCLA found that 26 percent of LA clinics have not applied and do not intend to do so.
Other quality metrics looked at by UCLA include the use of health information technology (HIT) which includes electronic medical records. Fully 88 percent of clinics were already using electronic records though only a minority report “meaningful use” of the technology.
Clinics were also expected to undergo quality improvement efforts. Here a majority of clinics indicated they had undergone some combination of internal or external quality training regimens. Only seven percent of clinics said they had not made any efforts in this area.
Overall, two in five clinics (39%) have made progress that will prepare them for the influx of ACA patients. An identical number are not prepared and seemingly lack the staff, time or financial resources to get prepared. The UCLA brief concludes that these clinics “may require further assistance and resources” in order to get themselves ready.