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Health Centers Continue to Carry the Torch

We see the hearts hanging on the doors all across the country to thank our health care heroes and I think that makes this National Health Center Week even more special because the entire world is aware of the devotion and dedication you have to your patients. It is time for us all to honor you and the work you do to serve the most vulnerable among us.

Providers and staff at FQHCs have a fierce amount of compassion, dedication, and determination as they work tirelessly in support of their mission. As a result, I wanted to take a moment, on behalf of the entire Azara team, to recognize the amazing work the health centers we partner with provide in their communities. To do that, in DRVS fashion, let us look at the data (thank you to my colleagues, Phil Parker and Daniel Zheng for the data!).

In the past year, the 369 health centers on DRVS have cared for over 7 million patients1 with a diverse composition. Non-Hispanic/Latino patients make up 60% of the population, while Hispanic/Latino is 26%, and 14% refused to report. Of these patients, 56% are White, 20% Black/African American, 14% refused to report, 3% Asian, 3% more than one race, 2% American Indian/Alaskan Native, 1% Pacific Islander, and 0.4% Native Hawaiian. I was amazed to see that DRVS customers see patients who speak 130 different languages with English (80%) and Spanish (15%) being the most common.

Patient diagnoses add an increasing level of complexity to care. Of the over 7 million patients, 10% have diabetes, 21% have hypertension, and 15% have depression2. We know COVID-19 has increased the complexity of these patients and health centers have stepped up to the challenge performing over 500,000 COVID-19 tests3. COVID-19 did not just increase the complexity of patients, but it also challenged health centers to increase or implement telehealth services and partner with new vendors and community services. Since January 1, 2020, DRVS health centers have performed nearly 2.9 million telehealth visits4! This is an astounding number given that many health centers implemented telehealth in days or weeks as they were forced to shut their doors due to the pandemic.

The theme for this year’s National Health Center Week (August 9-15) is “lighting the way for healthier communities today and in the future.” The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) encourages us all to take time during this week to remember the front-line providers, staff, and patients that we lost during the COVID-19 pandemic by lighting a candle in remembrance. We hope you will all join in the events of the week. Take some time to celebrate all the extremely difficult and challenging work you have done.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Maya Angelou, “My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness.” It has been an especially challenging year, and you have been there for the most vulnerable among us. All of us at Azara are proud to work alongside you. Thank you.


1Patient count is based on patients with a UDS Qualifying Encounter in the past year.
2Patients with a UDS Qualifying Encounter in the past year and a diagnosis of one of those mentioned.
3Represents number of tests performed, not patients. Includes any COVID test in the EHR (i.e. those performed at a hospital and the result entered in the EHR).
4Number of visits using a telehealth code, modifier, or mapped as telehealth.