Quality Improvement & Programs

Community health centers are the lifeblood of the communities they serve. Established as a result of primary care provider shortages in underserved areas of the District, community health centers have become vital resources to residents. As the centers provide compassionate, culturally competent, comprehensive care and wrap-around services, residents have come to rely on them for their needs. In 2013, DCPCA member health centers provided care to their communities through one million patient visits, serving one out of every three DC residents.

As the leading voice for an integrated health system with primary care at the core, DCPCA is focused on driving improvements in the District’s health care system and strengthening the sustainability of our member health centers. With a broad goal of strengthening population health, we provide technical assistance, data as a tool to drive improvements in population health, and other necessary resources to help our member centers thrive in the new health care arena. Additionally, we facilitate collaboration among our member centers and other primary care providers in order to drive system change and make a collective impact.

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Health Center Support

DCPCA is committed to maintaining, strengthening, and expanding existing and potential Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) in the District of Columbia. Our work is focused on ensuring that FQHC services and locations are accessible and meet the needs of a large and growing unserved/underserved population. DCPCA assists existing FQHCs and new-starts, as well as those applying or planning to establish FQHCs in their communities.

The Quality Improvement and Programs Department also serves as a resource to support all new programs and staff at member health centers, to promote programmatic continuity for sites during transition periods, support the development and implementation of clinical and quality programs, and assist sites in incorporating corporate compliance, quality, emergency preparedness and risk management programs into daily operations. In collaboration with the Department of Health as well as with other partners and stake holders, DCPCA also facilitates and supports a variety of initiatives focused on issues of high volume, high-risk and/or problem- prone areas for the District’s community health centers and FQHCs and CHCs. The department manages innovative clinical collaborations that target health disparities and improve patient health, offers resources and continuous support and training for quality improvement, lends expertise in areas related to clinical health policy, and creates opportunities for leadership and networking among health center clinicians.

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Peer Educational Teams

In order to support improvement efforts, the Quality Improvement and Programs Department organizes and facilitates Peer Educational Teams for Federally Qualified Health Centers and other members to enhance strategic partnerships and encourage shared learning for clinical quality improvement, to strengthen clinical support, identify and share best practices, and develop resource systems and mentoring programs.

The Department provides a broad range of support to community health center physicians, nurse practitioners, and dentists, as well as other clinicians and quality improvement managers as they work to provide the highest quality care to their patients. The Department also works to empower individuals, organizations and communities through the facilitation of networking opportunities that support efforts to develop, implement and sustain community health improvements in clinical operations and patient outcomes.

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Patient Centered Medical Home Transformation Initiative

DCPCA is committed to assisting member health centers transform the delivery of primary care by following the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) principles and guidelines which increase quality, improve health outcomes and manage costs. These principles center around taking a team approach to primary care, aim for systems change by implementing the Care Model, and also include the integration of the Improvement Model for quality methodology. DCPCA is working to have have 100% of member health centers be PCMH Recognized sites.

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Technical Assistance and Training

Throughout each year, the Quality Improvement and Programs Department provides a series of training sessions and conferences, educational programs, on-site technical assistance, examples of evidence-based practice, and multiple opportunities for coaching and mentoring on a variety of clinical and quality initiatives.

Trainings are planned and prioritized based on the current healthcare environment, new or revised practice standards or guidelines, and health center annual needs.

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Special Populations

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) requires Primary Care Associations (PCAs) to develop strategies for addressing the unique health needs and barriers to care for Special Populations in the state/region. The targeted areas of special populations required by HRSA include: Seasonal and migrant farm workers, homeless populations, and individuals in in public housing. In working with key stakeholders and partners, DCPCA seeks to involve member health center staff and to increase their knowledge and develop a strategy to address the unique needs of special populations. DCPCA will work with member Health Centers to provide technical assistance and training on the following special populations:

  • Individuals in Public Housing

  • Homeless Populations

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Emergency Preparedness

Our goal is to ensure that all DCPCA member health centers have appropriate resources and capability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a disaster. These efforts are part of the larger Technical Assistance and Training Program.

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Quality & Technology Initiatives

DCPCA helps member health centers leverage Health Information Technology (HIT) in a way that aligns with our Quality Improvement initiatives in order to improve the delivery of primary care. This unified approach strengthens our offerings and outcomes, and is aligned with the health care industry’s movement to leverage data to improve care processes and outcomes, and prepare providers for alternative delivery and payment systems. By providing technical assistance, training and tools, DCPCA is able to disseminate best practices to improve health care quality, promote health IT adoption and use, obtain Meaningful Use Incentive Payments, achieve Patient Centered Medical Home recognition, and expand health center capacity to meet the challenges and opportunities of a rapidly changing health care environment.

DCPCA products and services, all of which are guided by extensive input from member health centers, are provided by DCPCA staff and a cadre of experienced content experts as needed. The Quality Improvement team also collaborates with the Health Resources Service Administration (HRSA), the Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC), the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), and other nationally recognized organizations to bring training, technical assistance programs and continuous quality improvement to our CHC members to ensure regulatory compliance, maintain cost, and provide the highest quality of care to their patients.

Stay abreast of the new programs that we’re sponsoring by viewing our events calendar here. 

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