For Immediate Release: October 11, 2016

Media Contact: Kathy Fackelmann,, 202-994-8354


 New Report on Medicaid Payment Reform at Community Health Centers Published Today 

Geiger Gibson/RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative Report Highlights Lessons Learned from Five Medicaid Expansion States

WASHINGTON, DC and NEW YORK, NY (October 11, 2016) – A new report on Medicaid payment reform and community health centers reviews the key elements of Medicaid’s Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) payment rules, describes the flexibility available under federal law that permits states and health centers to develop alternative payment methodologies, and provides an in-depth profile of five states’ experience in crafting reforms to Medicaid payments for health centers.  Produced with support from the Commonwealth Fund and the RCHN Community Health Foundation, the report was prepared by the Geiger Gibson/RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative at the Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at the George Washington University (GW).

The analysis looks at five Medicaid expansion states (California, Colorado, Minnesota, New York and Oregon) and finds that health centers and Medicaid agencies in these states are testing payment alternatives, such as global payments, that link payment to health center performance. “These alternative payment approaches enable health centers to test new strategies to address the needs of their patients, while allowing state Medicaid programs to align health center payment strategies more closely with broader payment reform efforts,” the authors say. Inclusion of health centers in payment reform is crucial; in 2015, health centers cared for one in five Medicaid beneficiaries nationally.

Peter Shin, Jessica Sharac, and Sara Rosenbaum at Milken Institute SPH Department of Health Policy and Management and Zoe Barber, now at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, authored the new issue brief titled, “Community Health Centers and Medicaid Payment Reform: Emerging Lessons from Medicaid Expansion States.”

The Commonwealth Fund has also published a blog that goes along with the report, titled:  “Medicaid Payment Reform and Community Health Centers: Is the FQHC Payment System Beginning to Evolve?”

The blog by Rosenbaum, Shin, and Sharac points out two challenges in health center Medicaid payment reform at health centers: how to balance health centers’ role in caring for both insured patients and uninsured patients, who in 2015 represented 24 percent of all health center patients despite the Affordable Care Act expansion; and how to use payment reform to stimulate efficiency and innovation. “Working with health centers, several Medicaid expansion states are now beginning to adapt the federal payment policies that apply to health centers in order to meet these important challenges,” the authors say.

Feygele Jacobs, President and CEO of the RCHN Community Foundation, added: “Community health centers are crucial to health transformation, especially for the poor and underserved, and we have much to learn from these early Medicaid reform efforts.”


About the RCHN Community Health Foundation: The RCHN Community Health Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation established to support community health centers through strategic investment, outreach, education, and cutting-edge health policy research. The only foundation in the U.S. dedicated solely to community health centers, RCHN CHF builds on a long-standing commitment to providing accessible, high-quality, community-based healthcare services for underserved and medically vulnerable populations. The Foundation’s gift to the Geiger Gibson program supports health center research and scholarship. For more information, visit

About Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University: Established in July 1997 as the School of Public Health and Health Services, Milken Institute School of Public Health is the only school of public health in the nation’s capital. Today, more than 1,900 students from 54 U.S. states and territories and more than 50 countries pursue undergraduate, graduate and doctoral-level degrees in public health. The school also offers an online Master of Public Health, MPH@GW, and an online Executive Master of Health Administration, MHA@GW, which allow students to pursue their degree from anywhere in the world.