How to Make Sure Your FQHC Stays Afloat
Posted by Paolo Gabriel Demillo
As COVID-19 cases continue to surge, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) only become more critical. It’s vital to find new sources of funding, use tools that help optimize reporting, and ensure community health isn’t overwhelmed in the crisis. Thankfully though, resources are out there.
Shifting focus towards screening, triage, and testing, most community clinics today are serving as “shock absorbers” for hospitals. However, like other sectors in the healthcare industry, many health centers are also struggling to survive. While FQHCs will endure financial challenges for the foreseeable future, there are still plenty of ways to ensure that your community health center won’t become a casualty of the pandemic.
Assistance and Relief Packages Are Available
The Human Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) distributed more than $2 billion to support community health centers by the end of July. There are also still economic relief programs that you can take advantage of under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act):
- Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
The EIDL program provides financial assistance to small businesses or private, non-profit organizations that have suffered a significant financial setback due to a declared disaster. Qualified organizations may receive grants of up to $10,000 or loans of up to $2 million.
- Provider Relief Fund
HHS has extended the Medicaid and CHIP Provider Relief Fund (PRF) application until Friday, August 28, 2020. A total of $175 billion is slated for distribution to qualified providers.
- Electronic Claims Reimbursement
Healthcare providers who have treated or conducted testing to uninsured COVID-19 patients on or after February 4, 2020, are eligible to request claims reimbursement electronically. Reimbursements will generally be at Medicare rates.
- Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act
To ensure that “workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus,” businesses with fewer than 500 employees that provide their workers with paid leave for reasons related to COVID-19 will receive reimbursements and tax credits.
Whether it’s supplemental funding, flexibilities, loans, incentives, or reimbursement programs, funding and income opportunities for FQHCs are still relatively abundant despite the public health emergency. That said, to qualify for most of these aid and relief programs requires submitting a considerable amount of reports. It’s as important as ever to have software that can handle all your reporting needs.
The Right Software Can Go a Long Way
The enormous report filing involved with FQHCs can be a nightmare without intuitive software in place. Considering the importance of accurate reporting to qualify for the assistance programs available today, a software that streamlines those efforts can make all the difference.
Apart from a more convenient and efficient filing process, one of the many other things that a reliable medical software brings to your clinic is an expansion of opportunities to generate income — something that all health centers can use.
With 47% of patient visits going the virtual route according to an HRSA survey, it’s about time to maximize the revenue potential of Telehealth services. It’s essential to keep in mind, though, that not all Telehealth is created equal. Many platforms are not as effective and secure as you need.
The right medical software should also empower your clinic to widen its reach. Through the use of mobile technology tools like patient portals and apps, you can drive patient visits up by letting your community know that your medical services are available.
Whether it’s a fully HIPAA-compliant Telehealth solution, improved report filing efficiency, or better patient engagement, having an intuitive, all-in-one medical software can make wading through today’s uncertainties a little easier.