Community Health Center 101

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What is a Community Health Center?

The Health Center Program is a federal grant program administered through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which is an agency under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Since 1965, HRSA-funded community health centers have delivered affordable, accessible, and high-quality healthcare to people with low income, uninsured or underinsured, people experiencing homelessness, migrant and seasonal farmworkers, residents of public housing, and people with limited English-speaking proficiency.

Anyone can choose a community health center for their care. Today, nearly 1,400 health centers serve over 31.5 million people across the United States. Health centers are designed to provide coordinated and patient-centered care that brings primary medical care, oral health, and behavioral health together. This model of care leverages health centers as leading the nation in quality, improving outcomes for patients with chronic disease such as diabetes and hypertension, and lowering healthcare costs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are community health centers free clinics?

No. Patients receiving services at community health centers are expected to pay for a portion of their care, for example, co-pays associated with private insurance. A sliding fee program is available to uninsured patients and is based on household size and income according to federal poverty guidelines. Patients are responsible for the balance of their care after sliding fee discounts have been applied. Individuals and families with private insurance may also qualify for this program.

Can I come to a community health center if I have insurance?

Yes. Community health centers serve all regardless of payor source. Siouxland Community Health Center accepts most private insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, IowaCare, hawk-i, and self-pay.

Are community health centers government agencies?

No. Federally-qualified health centers (FQHCs) and look-alike agencies are eligible to apply for federal funding to help offset operational costs. Siouxland Community Health Center is an FQHC that receives this funding support under 330(e) funding for the health center program. Siouxland Community Health Center is also a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.