Wednesday, February 3, 2016

New Resources Available for Health Centers Seeking Funding for “Gazelle Projects”

By Allison Coleman, Chief Executive Officer, Capital Link
Emily Chen, Director, Healthy Futures Fund, LISC


What’s a “gazelle project,” you might ask?

Definition: A capital project sponsored by a Federally Qualified Health Center that is out ahead of the pack, moving quickly to address the social determinants of health in its community; characterized by nimble leadership, discerning vision and swift progress.

For Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) working on a ‘gazelle project,’ Capital Link and the Healthy Futures Fund (HFF) are offering new resources to help you achieve your goal! HFF is a $200 million initiative formed by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Morgan Stanley and The Kresge Foundation. Initially formed in 2012 with $100 million in resources that have been fully deployed, the partners recently announced that they will invest an additional $100 million in projects that promote healthy communities and address the social determinants of health. 

Utilizing New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) financing, HFF is seeking to finance innovative, groundbreaking projects that will be models for the ways in which FQHCs are engaging with others to improve the health of their communities. Ideal projects will include those that involve collaborations between health centers and other community partners that expand access to health care while also addressing at least one other critical community need, such as affordable housing, access to healthy food, job training, schools, elder care and other projects to advance community wellness.

In addition to providing attractive financing, HFF is offering a free HFF Readiness Program, sponsored by LISC and Kresge, for a limited number of health centers interested in obtaining financing through the Fund. Offered through Capital Link, a national non-profit that assists health centers in planning for and financing growth, the HFF Readiness Program is available to select health centers through a competitive application process. Those that successfully complete the technical assistance program will be eligible for grant funding to advance their project planning.

The HFF Readiness Program will offer group learning opportunities followed by individualized assistance to enable selected health centers to understand the basics of NMTC financing, what it takes to be ready to successfully obtain financing from this highly attractive funding mechanism, and lessons learned from peers who have undertaken collaborative projects to address the social determinants of health. A key part of the individualized assistance is to develop a specific work plan to achieve readiness for financing and application materials for the planning grant opportunity described below.

Upon completion of the HFF Readiness Program, health centers will be eligible to apply for planning grants to support pre-development and technical assistance project activities. LISC, a non-profit that works with a network of community-based partners to make investments in housing, businesses, jobs, education, safety and health, will provide the planning grants in addition to co-sponsoring the HFF Readiness Program.

Health centers are invited to apply to participate in the HFF Readiness Program by accessing the application here. Applications are due March 4, 2016.

Learn more by visiting Capital Link’s Healthy Futures Fund Readiness Program webpage or www.healthyfuturesfund.org for details.

Monday, February 1, 2016

New Study Examines the Relationship between Health Center Clinical, Financial, and Operational Excellence

Health centers are experiencing greater demands on their services as health reform implementation proceeds, often necessitating growth and operational transformation. As their role as key providers of primary care increases, health centers need to assess their current performance and develop strategies for improvement. Prior Capital Link studies have provided insight to health centers, Primary Care Associations, and other stakeholders about financial and operational trends. This analysis furthers our knowledge by examining the operating models, strategies, and practices of high-performing health centers to better understand the factors that work for and against the co-occurrence of strong clinical performance and financial sustainability.
 
This research sought to answer the following questions for the first time: 
  1. Do health centers that excel in providing high-quality patient care have better or worse financial results than other health centers?
  2. What are the characteristics of health centers that achieve both high-quality care and strong financial results?
  3. What do high-performing health centers do differently or better than their peers?
The results of this analysis show that it is possible for health centers to reach quality targets while also performing well financially. Quality Awardee health centers achieve key quality targets and invest more in enabling staff and services, but are also able to produce strong financial results through revenue maximization, efficient medical care teams, and higher utilization through positive engagement with patients. The data further indicates that the highest performers have a greater ability to control costs—in particular, staffing costs—even though they are more heavily staffed with generally higher-cost physicians.
  
Key findings are illustrated in our infographic. Access a free download of the complete report at www.caplink.org/resources/publications.