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Manchester Community Health Center Receives Award for Quality

In August Manchester Community Health Center (MCHC) received an award of $214,000 from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). A total of $950,000 was awarded to 11 health centers in New Hampshire to invest in quality improvement, building upon their achievements in providing high-quality comprehensive care. Health centers will use these funds to expand current quality improvement systems and infrastructure and to improve primary care service delivery in the communities they serve.

HRSA awarded $100 million nationally to FQHCs (Federally Qualified Health Centers). There are over 1,400 health centers nationally and 1,304 received awards. Manchester Community Health Center received the highest total award granted to health centers in NH for the HRSA quality awards and was in the top 5% of the total financial awards granted to health centers nationally. The awards were based upon achievements in categories such as improving quality of care, enhancing access to care, delivering cost-efficient care, and advancing health equity. Three years ago, MCHC established a Center of Excellence for Culturally Effective Care, which has been funded by a grant from the Endowment for Health.

President/CEO Kris McCracken said, “We are proud of our achievements in all of HRSA’s quality categories, and to my mind most importantly for advancing health equity. Manchester Community Health Center received the second highest award in the nation in the health equity category. We couldn’t be more proud of the amazing work of the providers and staff of MCHC for all of their excellent work provided to our patients, and we are very grateful to the Endowment for Health and their support of our efforts to build a Center of Excellence for Culturally Effective Care.”

Health equity is defined as “the attainment of the highest level of health for all people.” One of the overarching goals of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2020 is to “achieve health equity, eliminate disparities, and improve the health of all groups.” Health disparities are assessed by race/ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, disability status, LGBT status, and geography. To be eligible for the Health Equity Advancers Award, a health center needed to be eligible for at least an Electronic Health Record Reporters Award and an Access Enhancers Award. To qualify for a tier 1 award, a health center needed to exceed Healthy People 2020 goals for at least one race/ethnic group.

MCHC’s patient population mirrors the diversity of Manchester, with 45 percent best served in a language other than English. As Health Equity Coordinator Selma Tarahija says, “This requires developing a set of skills that will help us provide high-quality culturally effective care.” The Center of Excellence for Culturally Effective Care assesses MCHC policies and procedures through an equity lens.

About 45% of the patients at Manchester Community Health Center are best served in a language other than English. The health center spends $600,000 per year on interpretation services.

About 45% of the patients at Manchester Community Health Center are best served in a language other than English. The health center spends $600,000 per year on interpretation services.

Melina Hill Walker, Program Director at the Endowment for Health, said, “MCHC is a strategic partner for our foundation because the health center provides services in such a diverse community. One of our top priorities is achieving health equity for racial, ethnic, and language minorities, and MCHC is positioned well to do that. We see MCHC as a model for the state of New Hampshire.”

Manchester Community Health Center (MCHC) is a nonprofit 501(c) (3) federally qualified health center offering high-quality, comprehensive, and family-oriented primary health care and support services since 1993. Founded in 1980, Child Health Services (CHS) at MCHC is the pediatric practice of Manchester Community Health Center, dedicated to improving the health and well-being of at-risk children. Through all its programs, MCHC serves over 16,000 active patients at four locations in Manchester, including the West Side Neighborhood Health Center. For more information go to www.mchc-nh.org.

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