By NIMB Staff, November 8, 2023.
Twenty of 21 Puerto Rico health centers have been awarded at least one honorary clinical care badge for 2023 under the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Community Health Quality Recognition (CHQR) badge program.
Six centers on the island received the Gold Health Center Quality Leader badge, placing them among the top tier for clinical excellence in the United States.
The recognition by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is for the performance of these centers in such clinical areas as diabetes health, cancer screening and heart health, focusing on addressing social risk factors to health and advancing Health Information Technology (HIT), as well as behavioral health, maternal health, and HIV prevention and care.
These centers, which are vital for underserved and rural communities in Puerto Rico, have shown their resilience, particularly as COVID-19 Public Health Champions during the pandemic. They have also been acknowledged for their contributions to reducing health disparities, with 42.86% receiving badges for their efforts in this area.
The HRSA Health Center Program supports some 1,400 health centers with nearly 15,000 service sites in the U.S. Last year, these centers provided care to more than 30 million people, most of whom live below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
“Health centers are cornerstones of their communities, providing essential preventive and primary care for more than 30 million patients who face significant barriers,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in the related media release. He commended the Biden-Harris administration for recognizing these facilities for “their achievements in providing high-quality care to improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities across the country.”
HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson emphasized her agency’s commitment to “support and partner with these health centers, which not only provide care to patients regardless of their ability to pay but also consistently deliver excellent care that exceeds national quality standards.”
The health centers on the island stand alongside top-performing centers stateside, such as Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe in Texas and Unity Health Care Inc. in Washington, D.C., which have won multiple CHQR badges.
These centers offer critical preventive and primary care to patients who face significant obstacles. A 2022 survey found a 97% patient satisfaction rate, with patients willing to recommend their center to family and friends.