Introduction: The Appalachian region is often characterized by poor health outcomes and economic depression. Health centers (HCs) are community-based and patient-directed organizations that deliver comprehensive, culturally competent, high-quality primary healthcare services in high need areas, including Appalachia, where economic, geographic, or cultural factors can hinder access to healthcare services.
Purpose: The study compares the clinical quality performance in preventive care and chronic disease management between Appalachian HCs and their non-Appalachian counterparts.
Methods: Using 2015 Uniform Data System (UDS) health center data, bivariate and multivariate linear regression analyses examine the association of Appalachian HC with performance on preventive and chronic care clinical quality measures (CQMs).
Results: In the multivariate analysis, patients served at Appalachian HCs are more likely to receive colorectal cancer screening and pediatric weight assessment and counseling than at non-Appalachian HCs. No statistically significant differences in performance observed among other CQMs. The percentage of Medicaid patients and total physician FTEs have positive associations with preventive care in colorectal and cervical cancer screening, pediatric weight assessment and counseling, and tobacco screening and cessation intervention as well as chronic disease management of aspirin therapy for ischemic vascular disease and hypertension control in the multivariate model.
Implications: Overall Appalachian HCs perform as well as or better than non-Appalachian HCs in delivering preventive and chronic care services. Further examination of clinical quality improvement programs, insurance payer mix, and practice size among Appalachian HCs could advance the replication of clinical quality success for clinics in similar underserved communities.
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Marcinek JP, Sripipatana A, Lin S. Preventive Care and Chronic Disease Management: Comparison of Appalachian and Non-Appalachian Community Health Centers in the United States. J Appalach Health 2020;2(3):41–52. DOI: https://doi.org/10.13023/jah.0203.06