What is a Community Health Center?

New FQHC LogoThe Eastern Shore Rural Health System, Inc. community health center system has Federally Qualified Health Center status. For more than 45 years, federal Health Services and Resources Administration-supported health centers have provided comprehensive, culturally competent, quality primary health care services to medically underserved communities and vulnerable populations.

Health centers are community-based and patient-directed organizations that serve populations with limited access to health care.

Health Center Program Fundamentals

  • Located in or serve a high need community (designated Medically Underserved Area or Population). Find MUAs and MUPs
  • Governed by a community board composed of a majority (51% or more) of health center patients who represent the population served. More about health center governance
  • Provide comprehensive primary health care services as well as supportive services (education, translation and transportation, etc.) that promote access to health care.
  • Provide services available to all with fees adjusted based on ability to pay.
  • Meet other performance and accountability requirements regarding administrative, clinical, and financial operations.

Types of Health Centers

  • Grant-Supported Federally Qualified Health Centers are public and private non-profit health care organizations that meet certain criteria under the Medicare and Medicaid Programs (respectively, Sections 1861(aa)(4) and 1905(l)(2)(B) of the Social Security Act and receive funds under the Health Center Program (Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act). Rural Health holds this status.
  • Non-grant-supported Health Centers are health centers that have been identified by HRSA and certified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as meeting the definition of “health center” under Section 330 of the PHS Act, although they do not receive grant funding under Section 330. They are referred to as “look-alikes.”
  • Outpatient health programs/facilities operated by tribal organizations (under the Indian Self-Determination Act, P.L. 96-638) or urban Indian organizations (under the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, P.L. 94-437).

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