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First established in 1964, Community Health Centers are community-based, non-profit organizations that provide comprehensive, high-quality, patient-focused health care services in a culturally appropriate manner. With a focus on primary care, prevention, education, and case management, health centers accept most health insurance plans including Medicare and Medicaid. For those patients without insurance, services are provided on a sliding fee scale based on the patient's income. Community Health Centers receive federal grants through the United States Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Primary Health Care to partially support the cost of providing health care to the nation's growing uninsured population.
Community Health Centers offer core health care services, either directly or through cooperative arrangements, including:
In addition, Centers provide services to help ensure access to care and continuity of care. These services include: outreach, transportation, communication assistance (interpreters), case management, and social services. Some Centers may offer additional services such as mental and behavioral counseling and specialty care.
Community Health Centers are governed by a community and consumer based Board of Directors and the location, hours of operation, staff and programs of each Center are tailored to meet the specific needs of the community in which it is located. All Community Health Centers must adhere to national, state and local licensure requirements and quality standards, and are held accountable by the Bureau of Primary Health Care for specific program expectations. As a result, Community Health Center quality standards are among the highest in the health care industry.
Community Health Centers are time-tested models of community-based care. They represent strong partnerships of people, governments and communities working together to improve the health status of their respective communities.