(HealthDay News) – Physicians working at Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and FQHC look-alikes have similar or greater adherence to guidelines than primary care physicians (PCPs) at private practices, for 18 quality measures.

L Elizabeth Goldman, MD, from the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues performed a cross-sectional analysis of visits in the 2006–2008 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. Eighteen quality measures were used to compare performance of FQHCs with private-practice PCPs.

The researchers found that FQHCs and look-alikes performed better on six measures, worse on diet counseling in at-risk adolescents (26 vs. 36%), and similarly on 11 measures, compared to private-practice PCPs. FQHCs performed significantly better on using angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors for congestive heart failure (51 vs. 37%), use of aspirin in coronary artery disease (CAD) (57 vs. 44%), use of β-blockers for CAD (59 vs. 47%), not using benzodiazepines in depression (91 vs. 84%), blood pressure screening (90 vs. 86%), and avoiding screening electrocardiograms in low-risk patients (99 vs. 93%). After adjustment for patient characteristics, private-practice PCPs no longer had better performance on any measures.

“FQHCs and look-alikes demonstrated equal or better performance than private-practice PCPs on select quality measures despite serving patients who have more chronic disease and socioeconomic complexity,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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