Another great day at the NACHC 2017 Policy and Issues Forum. Today’s sessions were chock full of information. And did we mention the record attendance? It has been standing room only in the General Session, which today featured Forbes columnist and physician Carolyn McClanahan whose column this week about Community Health Centers was spot on! We also heard remarks from Jim Macrae, Acting Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) . Macrae offered up some powerful statistics about the work health centers are doing, particularly in the area of behavioral health services and integrating it with primary care. He noted that “51 percent of Community Health Center patients are screened for depression,” compared to only 4 percent of other private providers. In fact, primary care is increasingly becoming the gateway to behavioral health services in the health center world. According to federal data, depression and anxiety were cited as the fourth and sixth reason why a patient visited a health center. Macrae also underscored the value of the health center model of having patient majority governing boards, which gives health centers a bit of a “leg up” in meeting the needs of their communities. He also fielded a lot of questions from health center professionals about a host of issues facing their health centers — and for that we are always grateful. Getting first hand information from HRSA is invaluable to health centers, who travel from far-flung places to attend this conference and hear about policies and regulations that impact their health center’s operations.
Another great reason to attend the NACHC P&I is the EXPO hall, which features scores of exhibitors from the health care industry. And have we mentioned the education sessions? There were sessions on all kinds of topics — workforce, payment reform, advocacy and addressing the social determinants of health.
One more General Session to go!