Clinical Practice Transformation
At the heart of the work and mission of community health centers is the provision of comprehensive, high quality preventive and primary care. The clinical teams at each center are on the front lines and understand the needs of their patient populations. The purpose for the South Carolina Primary Health Care Association's clinical practice transformation programming is to provide support to community health centers and their clinical teams. To fulfill this purpose, SCPHCA’s clinical training, technical assistance, and initiatives offer educational and networking opportunities for provider teams, develop and implement collaborative strategies, and foster partnerships that have a statewide impact. The SCPHCA is the only federally-designated statewide organization solely focused on the training, technical assistance, and networking needs of Community Health Centers (CHCs) in South Carolina.
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For questions related to any of the SCPHCA’s clinical training, technical assistance, and/or initiatives, please contact Katherine Plunkett, Senior Manager of Clinical Quality Improvement at KatherineK@scphca.org
or by calling 803-788-2778.
SCPHCA TRAINING AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE INFRASTRUCTURE
At the core of the SCPHCA’s training efforts are its discipline-specific networks. The needs of community health centers are constantly evaluated along with industry research trends to identify and provide relevant training opportunities. Network meetings are utilized to disseminate evidence-based interventions and best-practices; leverage established health information technology (HIT) platforms to improve patient outcomes; and leverage the resources of community partners to create a comprehensive approach to clinical services. The opportunity for community health center peers and counterparts from across the state to network and share best practices is also a goal for the clinical networks. Below is a list of the clinical training networks facilitated by the SCPHCA.
- Behavioral Health Network
- Chief Medical Officer Network
- Nursing Director + Quality Improvement Network
- Oral Health Network
- Pharmacy Directors Network
- Ryan White Part C + D Network
The clinical training networks meet quarterly throughout the year with both in-person and virtual meetings. Once a year, all the clinical training networks meet at the same time at the SCPHCA’s Annual Clinical Network Retreat. The Retreat is held in early June each year and focuses on clinical care, best-practices, evidence-based interventions, service integration, and leadership training for South Carolina's community health centers. The Retreat also provides CHC clinical team members with a forum to showcase and share their work, find other centers with similar needs and interest, deliberate over new ideas, and facilitate the creation of new partnerships. For information on how to support and sponsor the Clinical Networks and Annual Clinical Network Retreat, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SCPHCA provides remote or on-site one-on-one technical assistance to community health centers in the state ranging from assistance with one special program/population, to building an organization-wide Quality Improvement (QI) program.
SCPHCA FIRST THURSDAYS CLINICAL QUALITY WEBINAR SERIES
To provide training on clinical quality improvement UDS, HEDIS, and other clinical quality measures and data sets, the SCPHCA created a monthly webinar series focusing on best practices, evidence-based interventions, and peer case studies. One clinical quality of care measure topic is discussed in-depth per webinar with case examples from the field.
The learning objectives of the webinar series are to: 1) Analyze long-term national, regional, state and center level population health data trends for clinical quality measures; 2) Discuss best-practices and evidence-based interventions (EBIs) centers in SC have implemented to improve clinical quality as related to UDS measures; and 3) Identify solutions for common CQI data reporting issues.
CLINICAL QUALITY INITIATIVES
PATIENT-CENTERED MEDICAL HOME (PCMH) RECOGNITION
The SCPHCA supports community health centers in earning PCMH recognition as a component of working towards advanced population health management and achieving the Quadruple Aim focusing on improving the patient experience, improving population health outcomes, decreasing health care costs, and supporting clinical team wellness. The PCMH concept is an evidence-based population health management intervention. The SCPHCA primarily works with two Accreditation/PCMH Recognition Organizations in assisting community health centers achieve PCMH recognition: The Joint Commission and National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).
The SCPHCA team includes experts in the following areas of training and technical assistance related to the PCMH model of population health management:
- NCQA/Joint Commission PCMH Recognition
- NCQA PCMH Distinction Programs
- HEDIS Reporting and Quality Programs
- Quality Improvement Methods and Reporting
- Quality Management Plans
- Lean Six Sigma Tools and Concepts
- Chronic Disease Programming
- Clinical Service Integration
- Quality Measure Benchmarking Reports
The SCPHCA also plays a leadership role in facilitating the South Carolina Patient Centered Primary Care Alliance (SCPCPCA). The Alliance consists of partners from across the state who are interested in increasing the number of physicians and practices attaining and maintaining PCMH Recognition. Members of the SCPCPCA include BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, BlueChoice HealthPlan, the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, the South Carolina Medical Association, the South Carolina Primary Health Care Association and the South Carolina Office of Rural Health.
RURAL COMMUNITIES OPIOID RESPONSE PROGRAM (RCORP) - IMPLEMENTATION
The South Carolina Primary Health Care Association is thrilled to be a recipient of the RCORP-Implementation grant, which is a multi-year initiative supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to address barriers to access in rural communities related to substance use disorder (SUD), including opioid use disorder (OUD). Fourteen Community Health Centers in South Carolina with rural sites and nine state-level partners representing SC state government departments, other state associations, and training centers comprise the SCPHCA’s RCORP Consortium. The SCPHCA’s RCORP Consortium focuses on expanding SC Community Health Center capacity to respond to substance use disorder issues in the communities they serve.
- PREVENT opioid use disorder (OUD) and associated infectious diseases in rural South Carolina through the implementation of evidence-based interventions to: screen and identify people at-risk for OUD; create pathways to care for people who are at-risk for OUD; reduce fatal opioid overdoses; and promote infectious disease detection for those at-risk for OUD in rural South Carolina.
- TREAT opioid use disorder (OUD) and associated infectious diseases in rural South Carolina through the implementation and/or expansion of patient-centered, team-based OUD treatment programs that provide integrated care addressing the medical, infectious disease treatment, behavioral health, and oral health care needs of patients while reducing financial barriers to care for uninsured or underinsured patients.
- PROMOTE A CULTURE OF RECOVERY in rural South Carolina through implementing and expanding access to recovery and treatment options, including supportive services to address the social determinants of health for people battling OUD, as well as enhancing discharge coordination for people leaving the criminal justice system who require linkages to community-based services.
Community health centers are leaders and innovators in the state for providing integrated primary care services to address the needs of the population they serve. Increasingly expanding beyond primary and preventive care, community health centers provide their patients with a broad range of services.
Below are examples of services SC community health centers have integrated into their practices.
- Oral Health
- Comprehensive Pain Management
- Contraceptive Care
- Diabetes Prevention and Treatment
- Behavioral Health (BH)
- Substance Use Disorder (SUD)
Rising to The Challenge: Providing Accessible BH and SUD Services
As communities across South Carolina cope with a dramatic increase in the prevalence of substance use disorder (SUD), including opioid addiction, community health centers are meeting this challenge by providing much needed SUD services to their patients. As community-based providers, community health centers are always ready to respond to the changing needs of their communities. Since 2010, community health centers in South Carolina have tripled their behavioral health workforce. Additionally, community health centers in South Carolina have increased the number of patients seen with a SUD (excluding tobacco) by over 700% and have seen an increase in the number of patients seen for depression and related mood disorders by over 275% since 2010. Community health centers provide a safe place for SUD care by eliminating much of the stigma associated with visiting SUD treatment providers that leads so many individuals to forego needed treatment. A community health center’s waiting room is filled with patients seeking all types of services, from routine checkups to dental care, behavioral health, and pharmacy services. Because of this, health centers can provide a safe place for SUD care, without the negative perceptions associated with addiction treatment.
The integration of behavioral health services and SUD treatment into community health centers is clearly a success story, but there is much more that federal and state policymakers can do to support health centers’ ability to improve access to and delivery of high quality, cost effective behavioral health care and SUD treatment. The SCPHCA advocates for investments in health center grant funding, support for a robust Medicaid SUD treatment program, and improvement to telehealth reimbursement in order to further advance integrated SUD and BH programming into community health centers.
HIV/AIDS CARE COORDINATION AND PREVENTION
South Carolina’s community health centers are leaders in ending the HIV epidemic, as they comprise most Ryan White HIV/AIDS service providers in the state. In alignment with Health Resources & Services Administration’s HIV/AIDS Bureau’s goal of strengthening the safety net of HIV care and treatment to build a comprehensive system of care for low-income people, SC community health centers provide integrated, patient-centered primary care to people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), as well as populations who are at-risk. The SCPHCA facilitates training, technical assistance, and networking opportunities for Ryan White providers through the Association’s Ryan White Part C + D Network. The training network meets quarterly in-person at the SCPHCA and proudly hosts a Consumer Corner at every meeting to involve the patient voice in all levels of the network’s activities.
To learn more about the national Ryan White HIV/AIDS program funding, click here.
CHRONIC DISEASE MANAGEMENT
The SCPHCA supports the implementation of evidence-based and innovative clinical models to expand and sustain chronic disease prevention and treatment services. The SCPHCA team focuses on data-informed initiatives to improve patient engagement/reengagement, service delivery, care coordination, and public health approaches.
The SCPHCA is proud to partner with the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Division of Oral Health and Division of Diabetes and Heart Disease Management to provide resources and opportunities for community health centers to expand and sustain chronic disease prevention and treatment programming.
CARE COORDINATION WITH THE MEDICAL NEIGHBORHOOD
The SCPHCA partners with organizations and entities across the state to enhance the care coordination for patients, with a particular focus on the needs for low-income, priority populations, and uninsured South Carolinians. State-level partners include the SC Department of Social Services, the SC Department of Mental Health, the SC Hospital Association, the SC Department of Corrections, and the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control.
The 340B Drug Pricing Program is an essential source of support for Community Health Centers, allowing them to stretch increasingly scarce federal resources and reinvest in patient care. The program allows community health centers to purchase outpatient drugs at significantly reduced costs. Community health centers pass the savings on to their patients through reduced drug prices, and use any additional savings in support of their mission to expand access and improve health outcomes among medically underserved populations. This translates to better patient care in any variety of ways, including through improved pharmacy access, extended health center hours, or the ability to provide additional providers or services. The SCPHCA provides training and technical assistance to support SC community health centers with the 340B Drug Pricing Program.