What really matters is the care patients receive, the value that creates, and whether it actually leads to better health outcomes. That is where America's health centers come in. These centers deliver comprehensive, integrated care to millions of Americans every day.
As Prepared for Delivery
Thanks, Tom [Engels], for that kind introduction. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for being here today.
It's an honor to be here at HRSA today and speaking to people who work extremely hard to deliver high-value, cutting-edge, collaborative care for communities across our country.
Increasing the value patients receive from their care, including through collaboration and technological advancement, is incredibly important. Secretary Azar knows this, and that's why he made shifting to a value-based healthcare system one of his four priorities for HHS.
He's firmly committed to helping move our healthcare system from one that pays for procedures and sickness to one that pays for outcomes and health because that's what will actually help the American patient achieve better health.
This drive for creating greater value is an essential part of the vision President Trump has for our healthcare system. At the heart of this vision is something we all work toward each day: better health for the American people.
Better health is what will result from a system the President envisions: a system with affordable, personalized care, a system that puts patients in control, provides peace of mind, and treats them like a human being, not a number.
Such a system will provide patients with the affordability they need, the options and control they want, and the quality they deserve.
To get there, we have to look at three areas: First, reforming how the federal government finances care through programs like Medicaid and Medicare. Second, we have to focus on how we're going to deliver greater value in care, something I know all you care deeply about and have expertise in. Finally, we have to focus on impactable health problems facing our country, where strategic interventions can make a huge difference for patients.
We have worked on reforming how Americans finance their care, but as you can tell from how I just laid out our strategy, financing is only one part of the picture. What really matters is the care patients receive, the value that creates, and whether it actually leads to better health outcomes.
That is where America's health centers come in. These centers deliver comprehensive, integrated care to millions of Americans every day—and, increasingly, they do so while using the latest health IT technology and thinking innovatively about how to deliver that care in a high value way.
That's why this meeting is so important. Your work here today will help health centers across the country continue to deliver high value care through better coordination and increased adoption of technology, which will improve the quality of care and patient safety.
Health Center Controlled Networks have been a tremendous asset to health centers in making the best use of electronic health records, which, when adopted, can be of huge value to patients, providers, and everyone trying to improve the quality of our health system.
We at HHS are eager to support that work.
Earlier this year, as many of you know, HRSA awarded approximately $42 million to 49 HCCNs with over 1,180 participating health centers. These health centers are operating throughout all 50 states and Puerto Rico, serving nearly 24 million patients at over 10,000 participating health center sites.
Health IT is a major element of the Secretary's work to increase value in care delivery, so I'm grateful that we have Dr. Rucker and ONC represented here today.
It's essential to be advancing the care provided in health centers partly because they serve so many patients, but also because they're a key player in tackling some of the high priority health challenges that we've identified at HHS under President Trump.
Take the opioid crisis. On one hand, opioid related deaths are finally declining, thanks, no doubt, to the involvement of health centers across the country, which have dramatically expanded their provision of medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder. But, at the same time, deaths caused by methamphetamines and cocaine are on the rise. We have to remain vigilant in our efforts to stop drug abuse and help people heal.
Substance abuse, and unmet treatment need, is disproportionately common in our country's rural areas, where 57 million Americans live. But thankfully, we often do have health centers there to respond by providing high quality care for those struggling.
Rural health generally is an important, impactable health challenge—and one that I take very seriously, as a product of rural America myself.
Thankfully, health centers are using their resources and knowledge of their communities to apply best practices in rural areas. They're also seeking to find better use of non-physician health professionals to expand access to care.
As you probably know, most health centers are located in rural areas or urban areas with other challenges, and yet they have shown success in beating the national averages with their patients' results in blood pressure control, diabetes treatment, and more.
When we talk about the ultimate goal of the President's healthcare vision being better health, the numbers clearly show us that is what health centers are delivering.
So, in closing, I want to encourage each of you to keep up the great work you do day in and day out.
The Secretary and I are convinced that, with your help and hard work, we can transform American healthcare in a way that will deliver American patients the affordability they need, the options and control they want, the quality they deserve—and most important, the better health we all want for every American.