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What is an FQHC?

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What is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC)?

Health centers are community-based and patient-directed organizations that serve populations with limited access to health care. These include low income populations, the uninsured, those with limited English proficiency, migrant and seasonal farm workers, individuals and families experiencing homelessness, and those living in public housing.

What are the fundamental elements of a health center?

  • Located in or serve a high need community (designated Medically Underserved Area or Population) or specific high-risk target population. 

  • Governed by a community board composed of a majority (51% or more) of health center patients who represent the population served.

  • Provide comprehensive primary health care services as well as supportive/enabling services that promote access to health care.

  • Provide services available to all with the availability of a Sliding Fee Discount Program adjusted based on ability to pay (family size and income) for those individuals living at 200% or below of the federal poverty level. Patients over 200% poverty pay full fee, which are set by the health center to align with the area’s average fees.

  • Meet other performance and accountability requirements regarding administrative, clinical, and financial operations.

Who do health centers serve?

  • People of all ages. Approximately 33 percent of patients in 2009 were children (age 18 and younger); about 7 percent were 65 or older.

  • People without and with health insurance. The proportion of uninsured patients of all ages was approximately 38% in 2009; the number of uninsured patients increased from 4 million in 2001 to over 7.2 million in 2009.

  • People of all races and ethnicities. In 2009, 27 percent of health center patients were African-American and 35 percent were Hispanic/Latino--more than twice the proportion of African-Americans and over two times the proportion of Hispanics/Latinos reported in the overall U.S. population.

  • Special populations. In 2009, health centers served nearly 865,000 migrant and seasonal farm workers and their families; more than 1 million individuals experiencing homelessness; and more than 165,000 residents of public housing.

What are the different types of health centers?

  • Grant-Supported Federally Qualified Health Centers are public and private non-profit health care organizations that meet certain criteria under the Medicare and Medicaid Programs and receive funds under the Health Center Program (Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act).

    • Community Health Centers serve a variety of underserved populations and areas.

    • Migrant Health Centers serve migrant and seasonal agricultural workers

    • Healthcare for the Homeless Programs reach out to homeless individuals and families and provide primary care and substance abuse services.

    • Public Housing Primary Care Programs serve residents of public housing and are located in or adjacent to the communities they serve.

  • Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alikes are health centers that have been identified by HRSA and certified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as meeting the definition of “health center” under Section 330 of the PHS Act, although they do not receive grant funding under Section 330.

  • Outpatient health programs/facilities operated by tribal organizations (under the Indian SelfDetermination Act, P.L. 96-638) or urban Indian organizations (under the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, P.L. 94-437).


How long have FQHCs been around?

The Community Health Center program was established in 1975 and authorized under section 330 of the Public Health Service Act. How many FQHCs are there and how many provide dental services? In 2009, there were 1,131 health centers and about 75% of those centers provided on site dental services. These health centers served 18,753,858 individuals for medical, dental and behavioral health services. In 2009, 3,438,340 patients received dental care during 8,401,705 visits. These services were delivered by 2,577 dentists and 1,018 dental hygienists.


“We are committed to the mission of Shasta Cascade Health Centers to offer quality health care services to our communities in an environment that is friendly, compassionate and caring.”

Shasta Cascade Health Centers receives HHS funding and has Federal Public Health Service (PHS) deemed status with respect to certain health or health-related claims, including medical malpractice claims, for itself and its covered individuals. Shasta Cascade Health Centers is exempt from federal income taxes under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable under the law.

Medical insurance is not required to receive services at our Clinics.

Call: (530) 926-4528   |   Text or Voicemail: (530) 412-5669   |   Fax: (530) 964-3141   |   PO Box 1143, McCloud, CA 96057   |

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