Federally Qualified Health Centers needing to build new facilities, renovate existing space, or purchase new equipment quickly discover that capital development is a complex endeavor. The capital development process requires careful planning and clear objectives, as it can take years from project conception to completion. Without proper planning, health centers can experience unexpected pitfalls, financial destabilization, or lack of interest to get the project off the ground. Capital projects become more manageable when a methodical process is followed.

Capital Link’s newly released publication, Steps to Success: A Toolkit for Community Health Centers Navigating a Capital Development Venture, provides community health centers with a broad overview of the capital development process. This resource highlights eight fundamental planning activities that create a foundation for smoother completion, eliminating most of the guesswork, and allowing health centers to understand opportunities and risks. Each action step provides guidance and related resources to help successfully direct a health center capital project and keep it on track. Steps include: developing a strategic plan, analyzing financial strength, achieving operational and clinical excellence, defining market opportunity, developing a comprehensive business plan, creating strong leadership team with project planning expertise, identifying capital sources, and benchmarking objectives for continuous improvement. 

The four-year period of 2012-2015 was a time of high growth for community health centers across the United States. The implementation of the Affordable Care Act resulted in the expansion of Medicaid and increased patient demand, but also a need for health centers to effectively manage their operations by better understanding their financial and operational performance.

Capital Link’s newly released report, Federally Qualified Health Centers Financial and Operational Performance Analysis, 2012-2015, highlights multi-year financial and operational trends of community health centers on a national basis. The analysis provides a framework for identifying the financial strengths, challenges, and opportunities for performance improvement.  

The report uncovered interesting findings across several financial and operational functions, including statistics related to growth and expansion, productivity and utilization, and financial measures. Most notably:

  • There was significant growth in both patients and visits over the four-year review period. Health centers were busy in 2015, providing services to over 24 million patients and conducting nearly 97 million visits. This was a major increase from 21 million patients and 84 million visits in 2012.

  • There was a substantial shift in insurance coverage over the review period. Uninsured patient rates dropped from 36% of patients in 2012 to 24% in 2015, while Medicaid coverage increased, from 39% of patients in 2012 to nearly 49% in 2015.

  • Patient growth and an improved payer mix were partially responsible for a 40% increase in revenue from 2012-2015, with health centers bringing in $21 billion nationwide in 2015.

  • Productivity declined across several functions over the four-year period, including medical visits, which decreased 12% by 2015. This decline was largely associated with health reform initiatives, including the implementation of medical records.

  • Health centers experienced a 17% increase in cost of care for both patients and visits, exceeding the U.S. medical care inflation rate.

  • An overall look at health center financial stability from 2012-2015 found that 75% of health centers operated in a steady environment, while 25% operate under fragile financial conditions.

The analysis also looked at health center quartiles to examine strategies of high performers for replication, and areas of improvements for low-performers. The report was developed with support from the Health Resources and Services Administration.   

To access this new resource, please click here.

Community health centers located in the wake of recent hurricanes may be in the process of assessing damage and making plans to rebuild. Determining where to start and how to finance repairs, replacements, or even relocation can be overwhelming, but health centers should be aware that they may be eligible for funding and assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Capital Link’s new resource, Hurricane Recovery Resources for Health Centers, provides guidance to health centers in need of disaster aid.

Capital Link’s resource has links to the necessary FEMA application documents, handbooks, and helpful websites, including updates from the state of Texas on public assistance process. It highlights, step by step, what to expect while working with FEMA, and what health centers can do to make the process easier. The document also reviews what FEMA may cover regarding cleanup, repairs, or replacement of facilities and equipment. Intended to help health centers through a difficult recovery process, the resource will be continuously updated as new information becomes available. As FEMA and the state of Florida assess damages and announce the disaster aid process, this document will be revised to reflect resources for health centers affected by Hurricane Irma, as well.

To access this new resource, please click here.

The Department of Health and Human Services has also issued draft guidance to help healthcare facilities with disaster planning and recovery. To learn more, please click here.

Sign up to receive our newsletter and email updates.

Sign Up