Federally Qualified Health Centers are important safety net providers in rural areas. FQHCs are outpatient clinics that qualify for specific reimbursement systems under Medicare and Medicaid. They include federally-designated Health Center Program awardees, federally-designated Health Center Program look-alikes, and certain outpatient clinics associated with tribal organizations.
Approximately 1 in 5 rural residents are served by the Health Center Program, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC). Health centers provide a comprehensive set of health services including primary care; behavioral health; chronic disease management; preventive care; and other specialty, enabling, and ancillary services, which may include radiology, laboratory, dental, transportation, translation, and social services. To be a qualified entity in the federal Health Center Program, an organization must:
- Offer services to all, regardless of the person’s ability to pay
- Establish a sliding fee discount program
- Be a nonprofit or public organization
- Be community-based, with the majority of its governing board of directors composed of patients
- Serve a Medically Underserved Area or Population
- Provide comprehensive primary care services
- Have an ongoing quality assurance program
HRSA’s Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC) Health Center Program Compliance Manual provides additional information on health center requirements.
To learn more including a helpful FAQ and a search engine to find your nearest FQHC, go to: