Community Outreach Finalist: Community Health Centers of Arkansas

Community Outreach Finalist: Community Health Centers of Arkansas
Community Health Centers of Arkansas in Little Rock

When it comes to community outreach there is one small hospital system that has a head start on the “community” part.

Established in 1985, Community Health Centers of Arkansas (CHCA) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to expand access to affordable quality care in Arkansas, and to create a unified voice for Community Health Centers (CHCs) and the patients they serve.

CHCA collaborates with local, state and federal partners, organizations and policymakers to serve 12 CHC centers and their more than 100 service locations in Arkansas.

CHCs are focusing on expanding and improving data collection as well as the latest in clinical treatments. CHCA centers have established behavioral health programs focusing on the latest health care needs, such as opioid abuse treatment, and are embarking on a collaborative endeavor for the future Franklin Community Health Complex in central Little Rock.

This unique approach will serve “whole person” needs of a high-poverty area: health care, education, recreation, fitness, economic development and community building. CHCs have also forged a partnership with UAMS to encourage future medical residencies and training at CHCs to encourage medical students to practice long-term in rural Arkansas.

Regarding improved data, CHCs will be able to better target their efforts to fill gaps, identifying high-performing clinics on particular items, such as controlling diabetes levels, while ensuring others get the help they need.

It is anticipated that more clinics will institute MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment) for opioid abuse and more patients will seek MAT as word spreads about its effectiveness.

This year UAMS will send medical students to CHCs for clinical rotations as a first step toward establishing CHCs as a landing place for medical residencies.

Also in 2020, Franklin will begin providing medical treatment in a temporary facility until work is complete, transforming the former elementary school into a health/education complex.

CHCs locate in areas for-profit clinics generally avoid, bringing quality health care to those who otherwise wouldn't get it. CHCA especially focuses on rural areas where there are few other medical providers.

CHC locations in Arkansas

Years CHCA has been in operation

CHC branches in Arkansas

The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration gave UAMS a $4.6 million grant in August to create a clinical rotation program for medical students at Community Health Centers.