Evaluation of the Impact on Access and Cost on Expansion of Federally Qualified Health Centers in Maine

Dates: 2008

State: Maine

Client(s): Maine Health Access Foundation

Services: Health Care & Public Health Planning, Applied Research & Evaluation

Technical Expertise: Rural Health, Primary Care, Safety Net

Access to care in rural Maine for low-income residents has been addressed in part through the expansion of federally qualified health centers (FQHCs). However, the expansion of providers and access and its direct impact on communities is not always well understood. JSI conducted an evaluation to understand the impact of FQHC expansion on local communities in terms of the number of people who were newly able to access care, the relationships with other providers in the communities, and the cost implications for Medicaid. Between 2003 and 2006, the Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF) provided a series of grants to assist in planning and applying for federal funding in order to develop new FQHC sites or to expand existing sites. JSI assessed six communities that were assisted by MeHAF and that were successful in securing new FQHC funding. One of the most important impacts of the FQHC expansion was the increase in the scope of services offered. Access to behavioral health services was greatly enhanced, oral health services increased and one health center was able to expand pediatric and radiology services. In addition to the positive results of FQHC expansion, the report to the foundation provides information on the unintended consequences of the expansion. The full report is intended as internal document for the MeHAF board and staff to guide future funding initiatives.

Read JSI's Final Report on MeHAF's website.


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