What is a Community Health Center?

Also known as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), or a federally funded Community Health Center (CHCs), a Community Health Center is a non-profit, 501 (c)(3) corporation that delivers primary medical, dental, chiropractic and mental health services in healthcare under-served areas. FQHCs receive federal funding under Section 330 of the U.S. Public Health & Service Act.  Community Health Centers provide care to all but are focused on delivering services in areas of clinical shortage – medical, dental and mental health.  Health Centers offer a sliding fee scale for low income neighbors to assure that finances are not a barrier to receiving care. 

To learn more about Community Health Centers, when they started, how many there are across America and the lives that have been touched by Health Centers, visit this link to watch stories from patients that have been seen at a Community Health Center

There are three types of FQHCs: 
Community Health Centers, Homeless and Migrant Health Centers, and Tribal Health Centers.

What are the requirements of a federally funded 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 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.
  • Health Centers are eligible for protection from lawsuits alleging medical malpractice through the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). 
    • Scenic Bluffs Community Health Centers employees are deemed by the Health Resources and Services Administration as employees of the Public Health Services (PHS) for purposes of FTCA medical malpractice coverage under the Federal Supported Health Centers Assistance Acts (FSHCAA) of 1992 (Pub. L. 102-501) and 1995 (Pub. L. 104-73)

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?

  • Consists 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.

Meet the Board of Directors at Scenic Bluffs Community Health Centers