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Health centers provide quality care.

Care at community health centers is as good as--or better than--care at private medical offices, according to a study published July 10 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The study was based on an analysis of visits in the 2006-2008 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and compared performance of federally qualified health centers and private medical practices on 18 quality measures. In the analysis, the health centers performed better on six measures, worse on diet counseling in at-risk adolescents and no differently on 11 measures. Areas in which health centers outperformed private practice included aspirin use in coronary artery disease, blood pressure screening and the use of benzodiazepines in depression.

When researchers adjusted for patient characteristics the results were similar, except private practice medical offices no longer scored higher on any measure.

The study's authors said the findings were significant considering community health centers tend to serve patients "with limited or no insurance" and with a higher burden of chronic disease. The Affordable Care Act relies on federally qualified health centers to provide care for newly insured patients.

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Title Annotation:HEALTH FINDINGS
Author:Currie, Donya
Publication:The Nation's Health
Date:Sep 1, 2012
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