For more than 40 years, HRSA-supported Health Centers
have provided comprehensive, culturally competent,
quality primary health care services to medically
underserved communities and vulnerable populations.
Health centers are community-based and patient-driven
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 farmworkers, individuals and
families experiencing homelessness, and those living
in public housing.
Health Center Program Fundamentals
- Located in or serve a high need community
(designated Medically Underserved Area
or Population). Find
MUAs and MUPs
- Governed by a community board
composed of a majority (51% or more) of health center
patients who represent the population served. More
about health center governance
- Provide comprehensive
primary health care services as well as
supportive services (education, translation and
transportation, etc.) that promote access to health
More about health center scope
- Provide services available to all
with fees adjusted based on ability to pay.
- Meet other performance
and accountability requirements regarding
administrative, clinical, and financial operations.
Who Health Centers Serve
- People of all ages. Approximately
36 percent of patients in 2007 were children (age
19 and younger); about 7 percent were 65 or older.
- People without and with health insurance.
The proportion of uninsured patients of
all ages, held steady in 2007 at nearly 40 percent,
while the number of uninsured patients increased
from 4 million in 2001 to over 6 million in 2006.
- People of all races and ethnicities.
In 2007, 27 percent of health center patients were
African-American and 34 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 2007,
health centers served more than 770,000 migrant
and seasonal farmworkers and their families; nearly
743,000 individuals experiencing homelessness; and
more than 133,000 residents of public housing.
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 (respectively,
Sections 1861(aa)(4) and 1905(l)(2)(B) of the Social
Security Act and receive funds under the Health
Center Program (Section 330 of the Public Health
- Community Health Centers
serve a variety of underserved populations and
- 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
- Public Housing Primary Care Programs
serve residents of public housing
and are located in or adjacent to the communities
- 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
- Outpatient health programs/facilities
operated by tribal organizations (under
the Indian Self-Determination Act, P.L. 96-638)
or urban Indian organizations (under the Indian
Health Care Improvement Act, P.L. 94-437).