What is a Federally Qualified Health Center, you may ask. Well, there is no one quick answer to that question. The answer may be different depending on who you ask. To most a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) is a reimbursement designation from the Bureau of Primary Health Care and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. However, to UHC Solutions it means much more than this formal definition. To us, it’s a community healthcare solution that builds on relationships. It is a way of networking and building partnerships across the United States and changing lives within these communities by finding world-class healthcare talent.
FQHCs are present in over 8,000 rural and urban communities across America, according to InterCare Community Health Network and they have a successful track record second to none in the delivery of affordable quality care to more than 25 million people. They play a significant role in lowering health care costs and producing savings for the nation’s health care system and the American taxpayer.
According to The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, there are 1,202 FQHCs in the United States and California having the majority of those centers coming in at 129 FQHCs and Texas second at 68 FQHCs. New York is next at 57 FQHCs. Why is this? According to Huffington Post, California has a poverty rate of 23.5 percent, the highest of any state in the country and Half of New York City is living in near poverty. A study revealed 45.6 percent of New Yorkers are barely making ends meet, even with more adults working full-time since the recession. A combination of low wages, rising rents, and a lack of benefits is largely to blame.
FQHCs must serve an underserved area or population, offer a sliding fee scale, provide comprehensive services, have an ongoing quality assurance program, and have a governing board of directors. Certain tribal organizations and FQHC Look-Alikes (an organization that meets PHS Section 330 eligibility requirements, but does not receive grant funding) also may receive special Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement. This helps the underserved families receive the medical and dental services that they need and deserve. FQHCs successfully increase access to care, promote quality and cost-effective care, improve patient outcomes, and are uniquely positioned to spread the benefits of community-based and patient centered care.
This healthcare delivery system plays an important role in our country’s overall healthcare. Join us in supporting this movement any time you might have the opportunity.
Written By: Temika Beasley