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Health Centers
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Health Centers (Health Center Program grantees and Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alikes) are local, non-profit, community-owned providers of primary and preventive health care. They are located in medically underserved urban and rural communities in every state, including Michigan, and in every U.S. territory. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services designates communities as medically underserved based on income, morbidity and mortality rates, and access to primary care professionals. Health care is needed but scarce in these areas.


The fundamental principles on which Health Centers were established 50 years ago set them apart from other providers of health care

  • Located in or serve medically underserved areas or populations
  • Governed by a community board composed of 51 percent or more of Health Center patients who represent the population served
  • Provide comprehensive primary health care services as well as support services (e.g. education, translation, transportation) that promote access to health care
  • Provide services available to all with fees adjusted based on ability to pay
  • Meet strict performance and accountability requirements regarding administrative, clinical, and financial operations as established by the federal government


Health Centers are open to everyone, regardless of the type of public or private insurance individuals have—or even if they don’t have insurance—and at a cost they can afford with fees adjusted based on household income and family size. The goal is for everyone in the community to have access to care.


Health Centers provide comprehensive care to address the health care needs of the whole person, offering a wide range of primary and preventive care services, as well as supportive services such as health and wellness education, transportation assistance, translation, case management, insurance enrollment assistance—and more. This not only helps keep people and communities healthier, but it also saves the health care system money.


Health Centers are convenient, providing care for the entire family—from babies to seniors—so everyone can receive care in the same place, at times that fit in their schedule, and at locations that are close to where they live.


Health Centers are community-based. They are guided by community members—the majority of whom are patients—who serve on the board of directors to ensure the Health Center is meeting the unique needs of the community it serves.


Health Centers put patients at the center of their care. Patients and their families work in partnership with the Health Center’s team of health care professionals and support staff to ensure care is coordinated, integrated, and continuous. Plus, Health Centers have collaborative relationships with other health and human service organizations in the community to ensure patient needs are being met.


Health Centers deliver care that is of the highest quality. In fact, Health Center services meet or exceed national standards. Research shows that Health Center patients receive more health care screenings and have better health outcomes than patients who receive care elsewhere. What’s more, Health Centers must meet strict federal performance and accountability requirements regarding administrative, clinical, and financial operations.


Health Centers are located in communities across Michigan and the United States. There is a network of Health Centers statewide that partner locally to increase access to care. Statewide, 42 Health Center organizations operate over 250 sites and deliver care to more than 615,000 Michiganders. Nationally, approximately 1,230 Health Center organizations operate in over 9,000 locations and care for 24 million patients across the country.




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