Health Centers are also known as Community Health Centers and as Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), but each of those names serve a different purpose.
Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) are organizations defined in the Medicare and Medicaid Statutes of the Social Security Act. The designation is used to determine payment terms for these organizations for Medicare and Medicaid. There are three main types of FQHCs: tribal health centers (funded through the Indian Health Service), health center program grantees (funded through the Health Resources and Services Administration), and FQHC Look-Alikes (designated through the Health Resources and Services Administration, but not federally funded).
Health Center Program Grantees are organizations that receive federal funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration and are either public entities or non profit 501(c)(3) corporations that deliver primary medical, dental, and mental health services in medically underserved areas. We often refer to program grantees as Health Centers or Community Health Centers.
Watch this short video for a brief background of Community Health Centers and find additional information below.
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 - or for Health Centers serving special populations, have a meaningful way to get patient input in the services provided
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.)