What Are Health Centers

High-Quality, Patient-Centered Services

Community health centers – sometimes called by their formal name, Federally Qualified Health Centers – are community-based and patient-directed organizations that deliver comprehensive primary care and other integrated healthcare services including oral health, behavioral health, substance use and more.

Health centers overcome geographic, cultural, linguistic, and other barriers to care by emphasizing care management of patients with multiple health care needs, providing supportive services such as health education, translation, and transportation that promote access to health care, and using systematic quality improvement approaches, including leveraging health information technology. Health centers operate under the direction of patient-majority governing boards and are organized as public and private non-profit organizations. All health centers serve diverse medically underserved areas and/or populations and are required to meet and maintain compliance with a strict set of administrative, clinical, and financial requirements which include transparently sharing information about their patients, services, and quality of care.

Most health centers receive Health Center Program federal grant funding to improve the health of underserved and vulnerable populations. Some health centers receive funding to focus on special populations including individuals and families experiencing homelessness, migratory and seasonal agricultural workers and residents of public housing. The majority of health center operating funds come from Medicaid, Medicare, private insurance and other healthcare reimbursements. Health centers provide services regardless of patients’ ability to pay and charge for services on a sliding fee scale.

Across the county, health centers serve 1 in 11 residents in the United States, 1 in 8 children, 1 in 5 rural residents, 1 in 3 people living in poverty, and 1 in 4 people without health insurance. Michigan health centers serve over 715,000 patients annually.

You can locate the health center(s) in your community to connect locally, learn more about the health center program, or explore the rich history of community health centers in the United States.

Visit our member directory for a listing of Michigan’s community health centers.

To learn more about how Michigan’s health centers deliver value, download our latest fact sheet!

Find A Health Center
Mpca Hc Fact Sheet