Baltimore (August 6, 2012) – The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene today released for public comment proposed criteria for the certification of community-based health clinics, including Federally Qualified Health Centers.
Community-based clinics play a critical role in providing needed health services to uninsured and underinsured individuals in Maryland. Over the next several years, the Affordable Care Act is expected to insure an additional 190,000 individuals in the Medicaid program and 285,000 individuals will have access to private insurance through the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. As coverage expands, health centers will play an increasingly important role in providing access to care.
To prepare for this challenge, DHMH intends to strengthen its support of community-based health centers in Maryland. The Department will identify new opportunities for centers to participate in state initiatives, receive state and federal grant funding, and partner in public health projects.
For this expanded partnership to be successful, the Department is proposing voluntary certification for community-based health clinics, including FQHCs. Certification will provide assurance that centers are financially stable, accessible to community residents, committed to high quality care, and actively engaged in local public health partnerships.
“Community-based health centers will play an increasingly vital role in health care in Maryland,” said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, Secretary of DHMH. “Certification will allow us to maximize the value they provide.”
The Department is seeking public comment on the proposed criteria for the state certification. To view the propose criteria, visit:http://dhmh.maryland.gov/SitePages/Proposed%20Community%20Clinic%20Certification.aspx.
In addition to comments on the proposed criteria, the Department is also seeking comment on the following questions:
- What partnership opportunities exist for the Department to support community-based clinics in Maryland that achieve certification?
- How should the certification process be structured so that it is not burdensome to community-based clinics and builds on reporting that is already required to the federal government?