Academic Health Center-Community Health Center Partnerships Improve Access to Care

May 17, 2010, 15:23 ET from Association of Academic Health Centers

AAHC report illustrates critical teaching, service, management roles; reveals impediments

WASHINGTON, May 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In its newest report, Academic Health Centers and Community Health Centers: The Landscape of Current Partnerships, the Association of Academic Health Centers (AAHC) illustrates the significant management, education, and service collaborations between academic health centers and community health centers as they work together to sustain and expand health care access and delivery for communities across the country.

Based on a survey that revealed approximately 175 community health centers partner with the 35 responding AAHC member institutions, the report provides a window on infrastructure development and the scope of activities that are expanding access to care.  Sixty percent of the sites partnering with academic health centers are federally qualified health centers. Seventy-five percent of responding academic health centers also supervise medical residents at the sites.

The report shows that both academic health centers and community health centers can be strengthened and benefit from collaborations. Together, they can treat patients, enhance health professions education, perform research, and expand clinical trials in ways that neither would be able to do on their own.

However, the survey also showed that the many benefits of academic and community health center partnerships can be impeded by inefficient government policies and regulations with  designation requirements that limit funding for and operations of community health centers.  The report calls for further research into the regulatory, financing, and management needs and policies of community health centers.  "It is critical that policies and regulations reflect and support the valuable partnership between academic and community health centers so they can adapt to the changing needs of the nation and continue to be a vital component of the health care system," said Steven A. Wartman, MD, PhD, MACP, president and CEO of the AAHC.

The AAHC is a national non-profit association dedicated to advancing the nation's health and well-being through the vigorous leadership of academic health centers.

SOURCE Association of Academic Health Centers