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Quality Improvement and Safety Net Providers

Health care for people who are poor should never be poor health care.

The HRSA-supported health care safety net — health centers, Ryan White HIV/AIDS programs, rural health and maternal and child health providers and others — cares for millions of people in the U.S. each year. The services and patients are diverse, but the providers are united in their commitment to quality health care.

Quality health care is the provision of appropriate services to individuals and populations that are consistent with current professional knowledge, in a technically competent manner, with good communication, shared decision-making, and cultural sensitivity.  It is evidence-based; increases the likelihood of desired health outcomes; and addresses the six areas most likely to benefit patients according to Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health Systemfor the 21st Century (National Academy Press, copyright 2001, used with permission): :

  • Safe: avoiding injuries to patients from the care that is intended to help them.
  • Effective: providing services based on scientific knowledge to all who could benefit, and refraining from providing services to those not likely to benefit.
  • Patient-centered: providing care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values, and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions.
  • Timely: reducing waits and sometimes harmful delays for both those who receive and those who give care.
  • Efficient: avoiding waste, including waste of equipment, supplies, ideas, and energy.
  • Equitable: providing care that does not vary in quality because of personal characteristics such as gender, ethnicity, geographic location, and socioeconomic status.
Quality Improvement Projects
  • Health Disparities Collaboratives national effort to eliminate disparities and improve the care provided by HRSA-supported health care providers, such as health centers, and partners. Includes clinical, financial, operational quality improvement.
  • Patient Safety Clinical Pharmacy Collaborative national program to improve care delivered by HRSA grantees and other health care providers serving poor, uninsured and underserved people by replicating leading practices in patient safety and clinical pharmacy services.
  • Transplant Growth and Management Collaborative Organ Procurement Organizations, large hospitals and transplant centers working to dramatically increase the availability of transplantable organs.
  • HIV/AIDS Program Quality of Care helping Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program grantees implement quality management programs that target clinical, administrative, and supportive services.


Sue Sheridan: Patient Safety Video (U.S. Department of Defense)

Provider's Guide to Quality & Culture (HRSA-supported partner Web site)