Congratulations on your new position, and welcome to the world of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and community health centers (CHCs)! Read on to learn about what it means to be joining the “safety net” of healthcare. Click the links to find further resources and information.
Federally Qualified Health Centers (also known as community health centers) are a national network of community-based, non-profit primary care clinics located in medically-underserved areas, both rural and urban. Their mission is to provide high quality, accessible primary care to anyone regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. FQHCs operate with Health Center Program federal grant funding and additional funds from Medicaid, Medicare, private insurance, patient fees, and fundraising. Clinics may also offer health services including optometry, behavioral health, and dental care and supportive services including health education, translation, and transportation assistance.
FQHCs are located in medically-underserved areas and are uniquely suited to overcome the barriers to quality care that vulnerable populations often face. They are inclusive and culturally competent clinics that know the cultures, languages, and unique challenges faced by the communities they serve. FQHCs serve as a healthcare safety net, providing care to those who might otherwise be excluded from the healthcare system. The work of these clinics helps to reduce health disparities within Minnesota and across the country.
FQHCs must have a governing board that represents its community – at least 51% of board members must be patients of the clinic. FQHCs deliver care to people experiencing homelessness, agricultural workers, immigrants and refugees, low-income people, veterans, residents of public housing, and other vulnerable populations.
HIGH QUALITY CARE
- Basic primary care related to family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics, or gynecology
- Diagnostic laboratory and radiology services
- Preventative health services including prenatal and perinatal care, immunizations, pediatric screenings, family planning services, and preventive dental care
- Care for acute and chronic conditions
- Pharmaceutical services as appropriate
- Referral services
- Patient case management, including counseling, referral, and follow-up services
- Services that enable patients to access the health center, such as outreach, transportation, translation, and interpreter services
- For the uninsured, a sliding fee scale that takes into account the patient’s family size and income
Learn more about Community Health Centers
- What defines a CHC and how is it different from other clinics?
- Who are our patients and how do CHCs work with them to improve health?
- How do our staff see their purpose and what inspires their dedication to their clinics and this model of care?
- What are some of our community partnerships and how do they shape the care at CHCs?
We are the MN Association of Community Health Centers (MNACHC) and we’re here to provide support to Minnesota’s CHCs through quality improvement, technical assistance, policy development and advocacy, and partnership-building. Each year, we also put on the Many Faces of Community Health Conference. Get in touch!