Health centers are community-based and patient-directed organizations that provide affordable, accessible, high-quality primary health care services to individuals and families, including people experiencing homelessness, agricultural workers, residents of public housing, and veterans.
Health centers integrate access to pharmacy, mental health, substance use disorder, and oral health services in areas where economic, geographic, or cultural barriers limit access to affordable health care. Health centers reduce health disparities by emphasizing coordinated care management of patients with multiple health care needs and the use of key quality improvement practices, including health information technology.
Health center fundamentals
1. Deliver comprehensive, culturally competent, high-quality primary health care, as well as supportive services such as health education, translation, and transportation.
2. Provide services regardless of the patient’s ability to pay and charge for services on a sliding fee scale.
3. Develop systems of patient-centered and integrated care that respond to the unique needs of diverse medically underserved areas and populations.
4. Private non-profit or public entities, including tribal and faith-based organizations, that operate under the direction of a patient-majority governing board.