For over 50 years, Federally Qualified Health Centers (also known as community health centers) have been providing primary care, oral health, and mental health services for our nation's rural and underserved communities.
These health centers, supported by federal funding, have spread across the country and now serve over 25 million people in 9,200 communities across America. In Louisiana, 34 community health center organizations collectively operate over 240 individual health care facilities. In 2016 alone, these organizations served nearly 385,000 individual patients and saw well over one million patient visits. From Tallulah to Thibodaux, Louisiana's Health Centers serve as a one-stop-shop for all of your primary care needs - regardless of insurance status or your ability to pay.
Scroll below to learn more about Louisiana's network of community health centers - we hope you'll choose an FQHC for your next primary care appointment!
What is a Federally Qualified Health Center?
An FQHC provides health services to those who have limited access to health care - although anyone is welcome! Unlike many private practices, FQHCs welcome low income individuals, the uninsured and underinsured, immigrants, seasonal farm workers, homeless, and those living in public housing. FQHCs obtain a large portion of their funding from Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act by HRSA, but they are administered by locally-based nonprofit organizations governed by a board of directors.
What are the different types of FQHCs?
FQHCs may exist in different forms: Community Health Center, Migrant Health Center, Healthcare for the Homeless Program, and Public Housing Primary Care Program. Some organizations operate as FQHC "Look a Likes." These organizations meet all the criteria of an FQHC but do not receive federal 330 funding.
How do FQHCs operate? How much do they charge for a visit?
FQHCs are located in "medically underserved areas" or an area that has Health Professional Shortages (HPSA). An FQHC is govered by a Board of Directors, a group of people who represent the community served - 51% or more of these directors must be health center patients.
FQHCs charge patients based on their ability to pay. They use a sliding scale fee with discounts based on patient family size and income in accordance with federal poverty guidelines. These healthcare facilities are open to everyone, including those on Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, and those who are uninsured.
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