Community Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics
Community, Migrant, Homeless, and Public Housing Health Centers are non-profit, community-directed health care providers serving low income and medically underserved communities. For over 40 years, the national network of health centers has provided primary and preventive care, as well as dental, mental health and substance abuse, and pharmacy services. Also known as Federally-Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), they are located in areas where care is needed but scarce. The number of FQHCs has increased from roughly 750 centers in 2001 to 1,200 centers delivering care through over 7,500 service delivery sites in every state and territory in December 2007. More than $2 billion in funds were provided to Community Health Centers (CHCs) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
Rural Health Clinics (RHCs), in a similar way, are clinics dedicated to increasing primary cares services for Medicare and Medicaid patients in underserved rural areas. RHCs must be staffed at least 50% of the time with a midlevel practitioner and are required to provide out-patient primary care services and basic laboratory services. The clinics also utilize nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and certified nurse midwives in order to improve patient flow. RHCs receive special enhanced Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates, of which Medicare visits are reimbursed based on allowable costs and Medicaid visits are reimbursed under the cost-based method or an alternative Prospective Payment System (PPS).
Both types of health care service providers have unique abilities and needs but strive to serve the same populations. In an effort to inform and foster collaboration, AHA is committed to hearing and addressing the needs of these constituents in national health policy development, legislative and regulatory debates, and judicial matters. The following are useful resources, case examples, and important funding information.
- A Manual on Effective Collaboration Between Critical Access Hospitals and Federally Qualified Health Centers
- Recent Publications on Community Health Centers
- HHS Federally Qualified Health Center Fact Sheet
- HRSA’s Primary Health Care Programs
- Comparison of the Rural Health Clinic and Federally Qualified Health Center Programs
- HRSA Health Center Program Benefits
- Chambers County Public Hospital District #1 – Anahuac, Texas
- Cheyenne Regional Medical Center - Cheyenne, Wyoming
- Davis Health System - Elkins, West Virginia
- Holy Cross Hospital - Chicago, Illinois
- Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital - Saint Johnsbury, Vermont
- Factsheet: Rural or Small Hospitals
- Advocacy Alliance for Rural Hospitals
- Rural Health Care Bills
- Rural Updates & Alerts
- Rural Hospital Regulatory Policy