A Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) is a safety net provider that primarily provides services typically furnished in an outpatient clinic. FQHCs include community health centers, migrant health centers, health care for the homeless health centers, public housing primary care centers, and health center program “lookalikes.” Community Health Centers are a nonprofit that provide affordable health services to underserved and at-risk populations.

Rock River Community Clinic (RRCC) is a nonprofit Community Health Center transitioning to become an FQHC Look-Alike. An FQHC Look-Alike is a HRSA-designated health center that provides comprehensive, culturally competent, quality primary health care services consistent with Health Center Program requirements, like HRSA-funded Health Center Program award recipients. The long term goal would then be to formally achieve FQHC status.

The Benefits of Transitioning to FQHC Status:

Transitioning to FQHC status will allow RRCC to ensure long-term sustainability of services, including but not limited to the following:

  • Receive reimbursement for services to Medicare and WI Medicaid recipients which will ensure the long-term financial stability of services.
  • Access a federal 340B Drug Discount Program to provide patients with affordable access to prescriptions.
  • Access tuition reimbursement and National Healthcare Service Corps programs to recruit and retain healthcare providers.
  • Receive liability protection through Federal Tort Claims Act.
  • Retain local governance, ensuring decisions about healthcare in our community are made by local residents.

Community Health Center (CHC) Requirements

HRSA’s Bureau of Primary Healthcare, the federal agency that provides oversight to the Health Center Program, has outlined 19 program requirements that CHCs must meet to be eligible for federal grant funding. These requirements define CHC services, the targeted needs of the patient population, management and finance, and governance. The core requirements mandate that CHCs must:

  • Offer services to all persons regardless of ability to pay.
  • Establish a sliding fee discount program.
  • Be a nonprofit or public organization.
  • Be community-based, with the majority of their governing board of directors composed of their patients.
  • Serve a medically underserved area or population.
  • Provide quality comprehensive primary care services for patients of all age groups—including medical, oral, mental and behavioral health, and substance abuse and pharmacy services—regardless of insurance status, with fees adjusted based on ability to pay.
  • Provide enabling or supportive services that support access and engagement in health, such as patient and community health education, transportation, outreach, translation, eligibility assistance, and case management.
  • Have an ongoing quality assurance program.