A Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) serves an important niche in rural and urban settings. These facilities are focused on providing care to the most vulnerable populations in our nation. These organizations provide needed healthcare and social services to underserved populations and follow rigorous standards in order to receive funds from the U.S. Human Resources and Service Administration’s Health Center Program. Each FQHC must offer services on a sliding fee scale; provide help to fulfill an unmet need in the community, and have a board of directors made up of at least 50 percent of members who actually receive treatment from the facility.
FQHCs were first established in the late 1960s, under an amendment to the U.S. Social Security Act. FQHCs have been serving the community in this way for more than 50 years, providing a safety net to one in 12 Americans who rely on these low-cost primary care services for their health and well-being. Today, there are more than 1,300 FQHCs in over 9,100 locations around the country, serving over 28 million people.
What kinds of services could a patient receive from an FQHC?
An FQHC offers services to Americans regardless of their ability to pay. These clinics have a clinical and behavioral health component, as such; work hard to improve the lives of the people they serve. Typically these organizations provide mental, dental, or clinical healthcare services to low-income people. These services are provided in three key areas:
- Primary Care and Preventative Healthcare Services
These services seek to improve the health of lower-income and underinsured people by providing clinical treatment in areas where residents are typically not able to afford it.
- Dental Care Services
Promoting good oral health leads to better overall health, and FQHCs are devoted to providing preventative and restorative treatments for low-income patients.
- Mental and Behavioral Healthcare Services
Finally, FQHCs seek to provide mental and behavioral health services to everyone in the community. Typically these programs connect at-risk patient populations with drug or mental health treatment provided by psychologists, psychiatrists, clinical social workers, and psychiatric nurse practitioners.
These services are delivered via four typical types of facilities:
- Community Health Centers (CHCs) that offer care to federally Medically Underserved Populations (MUPs).
- Migrant Health Centers provide medical treatment to seasonal or migrant workers.
- Health Care for the Homeless Programs offers both preventative care and substance abuse services for people without homes.
- Public Housing Primary Care Programs (PHPCs) provide public housing to residents with preventative healthcare services.
In practical terms, FQHCs can provide everything from visiting nurse services to the homebound geriatric patient to inoculations and wellness care for new infants. Newer services such as telehealth expand the reach to rural and home-bound patients.
These community-based entities serve as a safety net for some of the most vulnerable populations in society. They are held to stringent standards of care delivery by the federal government, which is where up to 20% of revenues can come from. FQHCs are non-profit organizations serving communities that normally wouldn’t have access to low-cost primary healthcare services. Their work is incredibly important for improving access to care for millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet.
UHC Solutions and FQHCs
UHC Solutions is proud to work closely with the network of FQHCs around the country. For 20 years, UHC has provided these important healthcare providers with recruitment solutions so they can continue their vital mission in the communities they serve. Contact us to find out more information.