It’s National Community Health Center week!

With the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), these vital Community Health Centers also called Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers or FQHCs have seen an influx of newly insured patients, creating challenging conditions for an already burdened institution. Among the difficulties faced by Community Health Centers are chronically ill patients with multiple comorbidities, often cramped facilities and burn-out among providers and staff members.

However, there is one ray of sunshine on the horizon. Starting October 1, 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) provides a new set of payment codes tailored for FQHC services which take into account the "type, intensity, and duration of services."

Unfortunately, more dollars don't automatically translate into a more compassionate and engaged workforce. What it takes is an understanding of what motivates doctors and employees and then providing an environment that meets these needs. According to Mercer's "What's working survey," 2011, the highest rated factor in motivating people is "being treated with respect."

How do physicians and employees define respect? Feedback from a recent staff member focus group said it all. Participants said they wanted to be verbally appreciated for a job well done. Though physicians weren't part of the focus group, doctor's also acknowledge a need to be thanked for the work they do. 

And what about patients at Community Health Centers? Often times, the underserved among us receive less respect than they deserve. Respect for patients and each other is easily demonstrated by greeting with a smile; using the person's name; and making pleasant chit chat at the right time. These gestures of respect cost nothing, but they buy a lot in good will! 

Join us this week as we salute a staple of the American healthcare delivery system - Community Health Centers!

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