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What is a Community Health Center?
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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. 

Watch this short video for a brief background of Community Health Centers and find additional information below.

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.)
  • Must comply with the HRSA Health Center Program Compliance Manual.

What are the advantages of the federally funded Community Health Center model?

  • Health Centers are able to provide comprehensive primary care, while receiving reasonable 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.