Last month, the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC) released its Health Center Program calendar year 2020 Uniform Data System (UDS) data. The UDS data provides a snapshot of what health centers experienced during the past year, highlights the accomplishments of the Health Center Program, and identifies opportunities to enhance care delivery and inform future Health Center Program and other federal investments. The 2020 UDS data highlights health centers’ ability to deliver critical primary care and HIV prevention services while also responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The HIV-specific 2020 UDS data demonstrates that health centers:
- Conducted nearly 2.5 million HIV tests;
- Delivered primary care services to almost 190,000 patients living with HIV;
- Provided Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) services to 389,000 patients; and
- Ensured that 81% of newly diagnosed HIV positive patients aged 15-65 years old were linked to care within 30 days of diagnosis.
Further, the 2020 UDS data indicates that the 195 health centers that received fiscal year (FY) 2020 Primary Care HIV Prevention (PCHP) awards substantially contributed to health centers’ overall achievements in providing HIV-related services nationwide. Specifically, FY 2020 PCHP-funded health centers:
- Conducted nearly 1.1 million HIV tests (44% of overall HIV tests);
- Delivered primary care services to more than 120,000 patients living with HIV (63% of total patients);
- Provided Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) services to over 151,000 patients (40% of the total patients receiving PrEP-related services); and
- Ensured that 86% of newly diagnosed HIV positive patients aged 15-65 years old were linked to care within 30 days of diagnosis (outperforming the overall health center rate by 5 percentage points).
Despite significant operational and staffing challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, health centers remained committed to maintaining access to essential HIV testing, prevention, care and treatment access in 2020. While HIV testing and primary care visits experienced 11% and 3% reductions respectively from 2019 levels, these reductions can likely be attributed to travel restrictions and clinic closures nationwide, which resulted in fewer in-person visits overall for health centers. PCHP funded health centers have shown resilience and dedication in serving our nation’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations and we are extremely proud of their efforts in the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative.
2020 was the first year that HRSA collected PrEP data from health centers through the UDS. Additionally, in order to align with revised CDC’s clinical recommendations and CMS’ e-CQM, HRSA updated its HIV linkage to care metric from 90-days to 30-days beginning with the 2020 UDS.
Time and again, health centers have answered the call – playing a critical role in reducing geographic, socioeconomic, racial/ethnic, and other health disparities in the United States. They are invaluable to ensuring that our nation’s underserved populations, especially individuals and families living in poverty, rural communities, communities of color, and people living with or at risk for HIV are able to receive the care they need and deserve.