Center for Health Policy and Research (CHPR) Publications


Achieving excellence in community health centers: implications for health reform

UMMS Affiliation

Center for Health Policy and Research

Publication Date


Document Type



California; Community Health Centers; Efficiency, Organizational; Health Care Costs; Health Care Reform; Humans; Massachusetts; Organizational Case Studies; Qualitative Research; Quality of Health Care; Texas


Health Services Administration | Health Services Research | Public Health


BACKGROUND: Existing studies tell us little about care quality variation within the community health center (CHC) delivery system. They also tell us little about the organizational conditions associated with CHCs that deliver especially high quality care. The purpose of this study was to examine the operational practices associated with a sample of high performing CHCs.

METHODS: Qualitative case studies of eight CHCs identified as delivering high-quality care relative to other CHCs were used to examine operational practices, including systems to facilitate care access, manage patient care, and monitor performance.

RESULTS: Four common themes emerged that may contribute to high performance. At the same time, important differences across health centers were observed, reflecting differences in local environments and CHC capacity.

CONCLUSIONS: In the development of effective, community-based models of care, adapting care standards to meet the needs of local conditions may be important.

DOI of Published Version



J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2012 Feb;23(1):446-59. DOI 10.1353/hpu.2012.0008. Link to article on publisher's website

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of health care for the poor and underserved

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID