The federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has named East Boston Neighborhood Health Center as a National Quality Leader Award winner. The award EBNHC received is the top award for the agency, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
According to EBNHC, CEO Manny Lopes, the award was given to health centers that have exceeded national clinical quality benchmarks or other critical thresholds above the health center national averages in Chronic Disease Management, Preventive Care, and/or Perinatal/Prenatal Care.
“This is a very prestigious award,” said Lopes. “HRSA looks very closely at our clinical quality indicators and measure those indicators against other health centers across the country,” said Lopes. “Here at EBNHC, we have established the national Healthy People 2020 goals. Through Health People 2020 the CDC has established indicators of where health centers like EBNHC should be and those indicators have become a national standard.”
Basically, said Lopes, the indicators measure the programs, initiatives and other factors EBNHC has established over the years with a focus on preventive medicine so residents in the neighborhood can live longer, healthier lives.
“The CDC put these indicators out there to show what health care providers should be striving towards,” said Lopes. “As we know and many will say we have the best health care system in the world. However, with that said it’s the most expensive and our health indicators are lower when compared to other developed countries. So these indicators give organizations like us and the government benchmarks with the goal of getting people healthier.”
The award from HRSA to the EBNHC, said Lopes, is an indication that the Health Center is meeting not only its own goals, but also national health care goals.
“Only three percent of all the health centers in the country received this award,” said a proud Lopes. “Our focus has been on getting and keeping people healthy through initiatives like our Lets Get Movin’ Program, which gets children out and exercising, our diabetes program, nutrition program, as well as addressing proper food needs at the annual Farmers Market. When all these programs come together it shows we are doing the right thing in keeping the community healthy and living longer.”
Lopes said EBNHC has been able to make huge strides in getting more patients into the system and staying on track with Primary Care.
“All are welcome regardless of culture, language, income and we really try and drive that message home,” said Lopes. “It’s important, especially when it comes to chronic diseases, to come in to the Health Center, have regular check ups, stay in treatment and get your prescriptions. That’s why we’ve developed this multilevel system at EBNHC because it gives people the tools to better manage their lives. We still have a lot of work to do but this HRSA award speaks to all the great work we’ve been doing.”
Lopes also added that new technology adopted over the years at EBNHC has been a big help at improving how the Health Center delivers care.
“The new technology gives us the ability to mine the data and see the areas that need improvements and develop programs and strategies to reach those individuals,” said Lopes. “In the end the goal ultimately is to make sure the right care is being addressed at the right time.”