Also known as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), a Community Health Center is a public entity or non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation that delivers primary medical, dental, and mental health services in medically underserved areas.
There are three types of FQHCs: Community Health Centers, Homeless and Migrant Health Centers, and Tribal Health Centers.
What are the requirements of a Community Health Center?
- Must be located in a federally designated Medically Underserved Area (MUA) or serve a federally designated Medically Underserved Population (MUP)
- Must be a non-profit, tax-exempt organization or a public entity Must offer a sliding fee scale and provide services regardless of ability to pay
- Must have a Board of Directors, a majority of whom are consumers of the Health Center’s services
- Must participate in federal reporting requirements
- Must leverage additional resources (The federal contribution is intended to be only a portion of the Health Center’s overall budget.)
What are the advantages of the federally funded Community Health Center model?
- Health Centers are able to provide comprehensive primary care, while receiving reasonable cost-based reimbursement from Medicaid and Medicare
- Health Centers are eligible for protection from lawsuits alleging medical malpractice through the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA)
- Health Centers are eligible to purchase prescription and non-prescription medications for their clients at reduced cost through the 340B Drug Pricing Program
- Health Centers are eligible to apply for additional federal grants for site and service expansions
- Health Centers have access to providers through the National Health Service Corps
What key services are provided by a federally funded Community Health Center?
Primary care services, diagnostic laboratory and radiology services, preventive services including prenatal and perinatal services
Cancer and communicable disease screening
Chronic disease management
Well-child services, immunizations, screening for elevated blood lead levels
Eye, ear, and dental screening for children
Family planning, mental health substance abuse, dental and pharmaceutical services
Case management services; and
Translation and interpretation services.
Each Community Health Center is governed by a Board of Directors. What are the Board of Directors requirements?
- Consist of between 9 and 25 members The majority of board members must be users of the Health Center and represent the populations served.
- Meet at least monthly, establish the Health Center hours, approve the selection of the Health Center executive director and establish general policies for the Health Center.