Community Health Center

A Community Health Center is committed to improving the health of its community. Health is broadly defined as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not simply the absence of disease or infirmity. [ What is a community health service?] Inner South Community Health Service]

To achieve good health community health services strongly emphasize prevention, early intervention, rehabilitation and education, in addition to direct care.

Community Health Centers are unique in that at least half of Board Members must be patients at the CHC. Access to care is improved by decreasing the cost of care with a sliding fee scale based on income. Grant programs are typically available to provide the broadest opportunity for health care.

Integration of health care services is a major focus. Administrative and health care personnel sit down regularly to focus on location health care needs. Multiple services are provided that vary depending upon the site including primary care, dental care, counseling services, women's health, health promotion and education, podiatry, physiotherapy, case management, advocacy and intervention. The mission of Community Health Centers depends upon creating collaborative relationships with industry, government, hospitals and other health services. Community health centers that receive federal funding through the [ Health Resources and Services Administration, HHS] , are also called "Federally Qualified Health Centers." Today, there are more than 4,000 federally-supported service delivery sites. They are community health centers, migrant health centers, health care for the homeless centers and public housing primary care centers that deliver quality primary and preventive health care to more than 15 million people in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Basin. Through the years, health centers have built an impressive track record delivering high quality prevention and primary care to millions of low-income residents in inner cities and isolated rural areas.

In 2002, President Bush launched the [ Health Centers Initiative ] to significantly increase access to primary health care services in 1,200 communities through new or expanded health center sites. Between 2001 and 2006, the number of patients treated at health centers has increased by over 4.7 million, representing a nearly 50 percent increase in just five years. In 2006 the number of patients served topped the 15 million mark for the first time.

Approximately two-thirds of health center patients are minorities, and 9 out of 10 have incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty line. Four in 10 health center patients have no health insurance.

The health center program’s annual federal funding has grown from $1.16 billion in fiscal year 2001 to $1.99 billion in fiscal year 2007.


The first community health center in the United States was the Columbia Point Health Center in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. It was opened in December 1965 and served mostly the massive Columbia Point public housing complex adjoining it. It was founded by two medical doctors, Jack Geiger of Harvard University and Count Gibson of Tufts University. It is still in operation and was rededicated in 1990 as the Geiger-Gibson Community Health Center. [ Roessner, Jane. "A Decent Place to Live: from Columbia Point to Harbor Point - A Community History", Boston: Northeastern University Press, c2000. Cf. p.80, "The Columbia Point Health Center: The First Community Health Center in the Country".] [ [ "1965 Columbia Point Health Center"] - Boston History and Innovation Collaborative]

Newer developments in Community Health Centers include integration of health professional education with CHC sites for training. Numerous liaisons have been developed across the nation. New models also exist. The [ National Association of Community Health Centers] encouraged the development of the [ physician assistant] , [ dental] , and [ osteopathic medical student] training with [ A.T. Still University] at the Arizona campus. Those with experience working with CHCs are encouraged to pursue [ Hometown status] to improve probability of admission.


ee also

*Community health
*Federally Qualified Health Center

External links

* [ Health Center Program] , U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, HHS
* [ National Association of Community Health Centers]
* [ Community Health Centers of the Central Coast]


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