UCI Health Family Health Centers earn recognition for improving health in underserved populations

September 15, 2021

UCI Health Family Health Centers in Santa Ana and Anaheim have provided much-needed care to Orange County’s most vulnerable population for more than 35 years. As the first Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in Orange County, the Family Health Centers have been improving the health and well-being of these underserved areas by providing high-quality, accessible and comprehensive primary care services. These programs have become even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing ready access to testing, vaccinations and information, including partnerships with local school districts and community groups.

These efforts were recently recognized by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) who awarded UCI Health Family Health Centers the 2021 Community Health Quality Recognition (CHQR).

“Being in the top 10 percent of FQHCs in the country for clinical quality is a prestigious honor and recognizes the hard work and sacrifice of the FQHC team,” said Dr. José Mayorga, executive director of UCI Health Family Health Centers. “The FQHC team is a very special group who care for the most complex patients and families whose health is complicated by socioeconomic challenges.”

The CHQR awards FQHCs that have made notable quality improvement achievements in the areas of access, quality, health equity and health information technology. In addition, COVID-19 badges were introduced to recognize health centers’ contributions to the public health emergency response in the areas of data collection, testing and vaccinations. 

UCI Health received the following HRSA award badges:

  • Health Center Quality Leader
  • Access Enhancer
  • Health Disparities Reducer
  • COVID-19 Vaccinations

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Family Health Centers implemented ways to reduce the technology divide by optimizing patient care virtually with the use of at-home remote monitoring devices.

The Family Health Centers also launched a teledentistry program in April 2020, during the early months of the pandemic, to provide access to dentistry care and prevent patients from ending up in the emergency room for toothaches and other dental problems. This program was recently recognized by the National Network for Oral Health Access for being a model to other health center efforts to improve access to healthcare.

“I am honored to be leading such an amazing and talented group of individuals who have stopped at nothing, even when facing a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, to improve healthcare and access to the Orange County community,” said Mayorga.

UCI Health is the clinical enterprise of the University of California, Irvine, and the only academic health system in Orange County. Patients can access UCI Health at primary and specialty care offices across Orange County and at its main campus, UCI Medical Center in Orange, Calif. The 418-bed acute care hospital, listed among America’s Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for 21 consecutive years, provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation services. UCI Medical Center is home to Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centerhigh-risk perinatal/neonatal program and American College of Surgeons-verified Level I adult and Level II pediatric trauma center and regional burn center. UCI Health serves a region of nearly 4 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.