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Feb 17

Community Health Center (CHC): What They Are & Who They Serve

Community Health Centers (CHCs) have treated over 25 million people

In the naming convention itself, a community health center (CHC) implies that within an individual’s community a medical organization exists to treat a variety of ailments. While the name itself is very leading to what a community health center is in a very broad sense, there is a lot more to consider. What are CHC’s, outside of community based health organizations? Who do the health centers serve, what defines a health center, and what types of services are provided? Let’s learn more about CHCs.

What is a community health center or CHC?

CHCs provide a wide array of affordable healthcare services to millions of people at over 1,400 organizations. These centers increase access to primary care services by reducing barriers to cost, distance, insurance, and language. CHCs provide necessary access to care in areas where certain healthcare services may be lacking.

Who do community health centers serve?

As CHCs serve individuals regardless of whether they are insured or not. Many underserved patients receive care regardless of financial status or class at CHCs. The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) states that over 27 million patients have received care to date. This includes…

  • Over 330,000 veterans
  • Nearly 1.3 million homeless patients
  • 995,000 migrant farmworkers

Studies completed in 2016 by the NACHC show that only 17% of patients that frequent community health centers use private insurances. 49% of patients are on Medicaid, with that being the highest group, and 23% being uninsured all together. This study also reports that 62% of the patients examined at most CHCs are within racial/ethnic minority groups.

The NACHC reports the 70% of patients that receive care at community health centers are 100% below the federal poverty level (FPL). This speaks to the importance to the care provided at CHCs – providing primary care services to uninsured, underserved, and low income patients is necessary for society to improve health outcomes as a whole. Community healthcare centers provide a means to do that. 44% of these organizations are within rural areas where access to care can be harder to find due to physician shortages in certain fields, like behavioral health.

What defines a community health system?

Considering a community health center provides a multitude of services, it can be easy to consider them a multi-specialty group. With that being said, there are actually a few components that define them as a CHC. They are as follows…

  • Patient-majority governing boards
  • Comprehensive set of services
  • Accepts all patients, regardless of their insurance or ability to pay
  • Located in areas where access to care is limited

In conjunction with these components, community health centers are characterized as being community-driven organizations that are non-profit in nature.

What services are provided at community health centers?

CHC’s provide a wide array of services to their patients to accomplish the needs of their patients. These organization are, in essence, large multi-specialties that house a variety of specialties. These often include the following…

The services available at community health center depend on the physicians available to work at that CHC and the immediate need in that area. Community health centers provide care to patients who may not have been able to receive care otherwise. This improves health care overall and improves access to care for everyone.

Do you currently work at community health center? Are you looking to implement a new EHR system to accommodate the various specialties that your CHC provides? MicroMD can help. Visit us today at micromd.com or call us 800.624.8832.

About the author,
Savanna Adams

Savanna is the Marketing Communication Specialist at Henry Schein MicroMD. She schedules emails to clients, prospects, and VARs, manages social media accounts, performs SEO research, writes blogs and eBooks, and much more while helping to support the simple yet powerful MicroMD solutions.

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