Jordan Health CEO reflects on the Affordable Care Act

Feb 13, 2017

Credit Karen Shakerdge/WXXI

For community health centers, the Affordable Care Act has brought significant financial changes. For one, more insured patients show up for care, which brings higher reimbursement rates to clinics. But centers, like Jordan Health, have also benefited from the government pumping more money into the section 330 grant.

“The number of folks that we now have added to the team to make sure that our patient is healthier has been major,” says Dr. Janice Harbin, president and CEO of Jordan Health, a community health center with 10 locations throughout Rochester and Canandaigua.

The 330 grant money gives clinics the option to offer services that aren’t billable to insurance plans. At Jordan Health, increased funding has allowed them to hire more practitioners who historically have not been part of the team: dieticians, behavioral health specialists and care coordinators. And that, in turn, Harbin says, means patients can increasingly get different kinds of care they need in one place.

“When you’re dealing with concentrated poverty, your patient needs more than just ‘okay, let me give you a checkup’ and pat you on the back and say ‘now go out and do all these things I told you to do,’” Harbin says.

Jordan Health received an increase of about a million dollars since 2014, through the 330 grant, according to its grant coordinator, Deborah Tschappat.

Jordan is one of about 1300 centers like it in the country. These community clinics, technically called Federally Qualified Health Centers, care for low-income patients, regardless of insurance status. One recent report estimated that the ACA has allowed these centers to care for about 2.5 million more patients, due to an increase in insured patients and 330 funding.

For now Jordan Health plans to “expand services judiciously, while increasing efficiency and productivity,” says Tschappat.

Harbin and her colleagues will be lobbying lawmakers in Albany and D.C. to renew funding - including the 330 grant, which is set to end in September.

“We’re used to doing a lot with a little, but we increasingly know that we do need to have financial support. And that’s keeping us up at night,” Harbin says.

In the coming months WXXI will be speaking with people in the region who have been impacted by the Affordable Care Act, for better or worse. Have a story to share? We want to hear from you. Send a note to reporter Karen Shakerdge: kshakerdge@wxxi.org.