In November 2012, clinicians, administrators and community partners across the United States had the opportunity to learn more about the Congreso Health Center, Philadelphia’s newest Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), a partnership of PHMC and Congreso de Latinos Unidos. The center, which serves an estimated 2,500 patients annually, opened in December 2012 and offers fully bilingual primary care to residents in the community regardless of their ability to pay.

The tour was just one feature of “Scalable Innovations for Health Centers and Public Housing,” a national technical assistance symposium hosted by Community Health Partners for Sustainability, a program of PHMC affiliate National Nursing Centers Consortium. Community Health Partners for Sustainability is a nonprofit provider of technical assistance and consultation for community health centers in underserved neighborhoods that lack access to affordable, quality health care.

The symposium examined, among other things, the implications of Affordable Care Act implementation, which authorizes funding to expand the nation’s network of FQHCs, which currently serve 20 million patients and are estimated to serve double that number by 2015. “The Affordable Care Act is remaking our nation’s healthcare system. This means communities that have traditionally been unserved or underserved have a tremendous opportunity to access the services they need to stay healthy,” said Alex Lehr O’Connell, director of Community Health Partners for Sustainability. “The symposium highlighted those opportunities, and explored best practices to ensure that so-called safety-net care never becomes second-class care, but remains care of the highest quality and efficiency.”

The event was held in partnership with the Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers, the Alliance for Children and Families, and the Mid-Atlantic Association of Community Health Centers and was made possible with the support of the Independence Foundation and the Independence Blue Cross Foundation. “Transforming health care through innovation is our foundation’s mission, and we’re proud that our funding for safety-net clinics, serving more than 150,000 of our region’s most vulnerable, has helped increase access to quality care,” said Lorina Marshall-Blake, president of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation. “We’re pleased to participate in the sharing of ideas and best practices that will continue to best serve those in need.”

Interested in participating in the next Community Health Partners for Sustainability national symposium, “Keys to Health Center Success,” in Denver, Colorado, on June 4–6, 2013? Submit an abstract. Click here for more information.

Community Health Partners for Sustainability Snapshot

The 2012 symposium “Scalable Innovations for Health Centers and Public Housing,” was held November 29–30, 2012 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Philadelphia.

  • There were 224 attendees from 29 states, as well as the District of Colombia and Puerto Rico.
  • Over 25 individuals engaged in one-on-one technical assistance with Community Health Partners for Sustainability staff and consultants during the symposium.
  • In December, symposium participants were asked for feedback on each of the presenters. The overall session received an aggregate evaluation score of 8.14 out of ten (compared to an industry average of 7.10/10), and feedback was positive across all plenary and breakout presentations.