Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), a unique form of community health centers (CHCs), are outpatient clinics that have attained the qualifications for achieving the specific reimbursements from the bureau of primary health care under the Medicaid and Medicare.
Moreover, FQHCs receive federal funding and reimbursement rates that are enhanced directly for the public insurance in order to help in the delivery of quality and cost effective healthcare to the underserved populations and the uninsured citizens. FQHCs include the health center program grantee as well as FQHC look-alikes.
A health center can qualify to be a designated FQHC that will benefit from the federal support by fulfilling the following requirements:
1. The health center must be a community–based center and the majority of the board of directors that are governing it must consist of more than 51% percent of their patients that will ensure the population served is well represented.
2. It should be situated in a medically underserved area or population and should be able to serve the area fully.
3. The healthcare clinic must be able to serve and provide medical services to every individual from the underserved population or area regardless of their ability to pay for the services.
4. The health clinic must also establish and implement the sliding fee discount program that will enable the patients to pay for the health care using the sliding fee scale.
5. The health center must be a public entity or a non-profit organization. This still means that the aspect of health center patient billing is vital for success for FQHCs. For non-FQHCs, look-alike patient billing process is advised.
6. It should also be able to provide the comprehensive primary care services, referrals, and the various services that are required to improve the access to health care. These services entail; case management, transportation, and translation
7. The health center must have a quality assurance program that is ongoing and is aimed at ensuring the people in the specified underserved location or population access the specialized medical care with ease.
These requirements are carefully scrutinized by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) which will then designate the health center as FQHC. Besides, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare administer the payment policy of the FQHC.
The FQHCs play numerous roles in the community that are aimed at provision of accessible and cost-effective healthcare. Here are some of their roles they play in the community.
Outpatient Health Care Providers
The FQHCs that include public housing and community health centers are obliged to provide the outpatient health care programs which are aimed at serving the immigrants and the homeless citizens in the underserved community and live in the underserved areas.
Access to Quality & Affordable Healthcare
The FQHCs help in increasing the access to quality and cost-effective health care that will improve the patient outcomes. Moreover, they are positioned in unique and accessible points in order to ensure that the underserved communities benefit from the patient-centered and community-based care.
Provision of Comprehensive Services
The FQHCs offers comprehensive services that are aimed at addressing the main healthcare needs of the citizens that live in the underserved population. Furthermore, they ensure the essential preventive and primary health care services are made available and accessible to the citizens in the underserved areas. The services include; mental health, oral health, and substance abuse services.