Collaboration between rural hospitals and federally qualified health centers might not be as developed as in urban areas, according to yesterday's report from the Missouri Hospital Association. "... some hospitals overestimate the value of the federal incentives that FQHCs receive and believe that FQHCs should only serve the uninsured or only provide dental and behavioral health services. On the other hand, some FQHCs discount the value of rural health centers run by rural hospitals and believe the RHCs' financial incentives exceed their own. In addition, there are incentives for FQHCs to expand into small communities regardless of current access points such as RHCs," the report states. In addition, service delivery sites in outlying communities pose even more challenges for hospitals and the health centers.
To improve relationships, MHA encourages using community or regional health councils, as well as educating hospital leaders about the federally qualified health centers' financial role in the healthcare system and hosting site visits to learn about each other's service niche and function. Report (.pdf)