EHR Use Surges at Health Centers

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , May 19, 2014

"It is a targeted investment to adopt the electronic medical records and then the financial incentives to use them to help manage complex patients and new patients," Abrams says.

In another survey of FQHC leaders, The Commonwealth Fund found widespread concerns about staffing were a top issue in the near term, with 83% saying that physician recruiting will be problem, and 73% anticipating problems recruiting nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

Abrams says stakeholders must ensure that funding remains in place so that programs such as the National Health Service Corps will continue to provide a vital stream of clinicians to FQHCs and for other underserved areas.

"Recognizing and making sure that we continue to support and grow that program will go a long way in making sure we have enough primary care clinicians to staff our health centers," she says.

"We have generally a problem in this country across the board with attracting medical students into primary care because of the substantial amount of debt that most medical school students acquire and because of the differential in compensation between primary care physicians and specialists. That is something National Health Service Corps addresses. Programs that try to mitigate or provide loan forgiveness can go a long way toward attracting more clinicians to our FQHCs."

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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