Federal data compares community health centersHeather Stauffer
Pennsylvania community health centers are about average on seven key quality measures, according to the latest federal data.
The data also include individual numbers for local centers, which vary more widely.
According to the National Association of Community Health Centers, there are about 1,200 centers serving more than 20 million people. They charge uninsured patients on a sliding fee scale based on income and also treat the insured and those covered by Medicare and Medicaid. Federal, state and local governments support health centers by providing subsidies.
Quality measures reported in the data are as follows. Higher is better for all measures except low birth weight.
• Diabetes Control: Adults age 18 to 75 with diabetes who have their blood sugar under control.
• Timely Prenatal Care: Pregnant women receiving prenatal care in the first trimester.
• Hypertension Control: Adults age 18 to 85 with hypertension who have their blood pressure under control.
• Low Birth Weight: Babies born with birth weight below 2,500 grams.
• Childhood Immunization: Children who receive 10 federally recommended vaccines by 2 years of age.
• Cervical Cancer Screening: Women age 24 to 64 with at least one Pap test in the prior three years.
• Asthma Therapy: Patients age 5 to 40 who have persistent asthma who receive asthma drugs.