Frequently Asked Questions
What makes you different from other medical practices?
Our objective: We are on a mission to deliver quality, compassionate healthcare- every patient, every time- in response to the needs of our community. As a federally-funded Community Health Center since 1972, we have provided primary and preventive care to underserved areas and have reached out to meet specific community needs. We go to where the need is greatest.
Beyond primary care: We offer wrap-around services such as dental, behavioral health counseling, substance abuse counseling, diabetes education, and assistance with prescriptions. We provide culturally-competent care and have bilingual staff at all of our locations.
We welcome everyone. We serve everyone regardless of insurance status or immigration status. We welcome patients with Medicare, Medicaid and NC Health Choice and accept most private insurance plans. We serve both children and adults, from newborns to seniors. Community Health Centers are unique in being able to serve your entire family in one convenient location.
Access. We are open 5 days a week with regular business hours, ranging from 7 am to 7 pm, depending on the location. We offer same day access and some sites have early morning walk-in appointments. We have an after hours answering service, so we are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Are you part of Wake County or a hospital system?
Advance Community Health is a private, nonprofit health system with four locations and an outreach center. We are not a free clinic, and we are not affiliated with any hospital or state or local agency. We are a full-service medical and dental practice. We have sites in Southeast Raleigh, Apex, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, and Louisburg.
How are you staffed?
We are a comprehensive primary care medical and dental practice employing full-time board-certified physicians 5 days a week, with no volunteer medical staff. Among our 100-plus employees are approximately 30 medical and dental practitioners, with the highest level of professional certification. Our staff also includes case managers, health educators, and bilingual staff.
What if someone does not have insurance and can’t afford to pay?
For patients with no insurance, we offer discounted rates based on family size and household income. We also assist with the application process for Medicaid and state-sponsored insurance for children.
Does Medicare and Medicaid cover everybody who can’t afford insurance?
No. Medicare and Medicaid mainly cover children under 18, pregnant women, and adults age 65 and over. This leaves a huge gap of adults aged 18-64 who do not qualify for federal support, can’t afford private insurance, or are underinsured, meaning they have very high deductibles and/or catastrophic hospitalization coverage only. Additionally, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements are capped at levels far below what we actually spend on a given patient.
Is this a cost-efficient operation?
Yes. The White House Office of Management and Budget has ranked the Community Health Center model as one of the 10 most effective government programs—a designation earned by only 6% of all federal programs. Without insurance, people put off seeing a doctor until a preventable condition turns into an emergency. An average visit at Advance Community Health costs $124. Compare that to the average cost of $607 for a single ER visit. With our discount program, visits can be as low as $25.
How is Advance Community Health funded?
As a non-profit Community Health Center, approximately one-third of our budget depends on grants and donations. We receive federal grants that cover almost a quarter of our costs and regulate many aspects of our services. Two-thirds of funding comes from patient revenue, which includes reimbursements from Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance, or payments made through our sliding scale discount fee program. More than one-quarter of our patients are enrolled in our discount fee program.
Who do you serve?
We serve everyone, regardless of ability to pay, insurance coverage, or citizenship status. We have 25,000 active patients in our medical and dental practices. About two-thirds of our patients have incomes below the Federal Poverty Level. Nearly one-third of our patients are uninsured. We also serve about 1,300 patients through our Horizon Healthcare for the Homeless program, at our medical practices and outreach centers.
We work closely with many local partners and social service agencies to make health care accessible to everyone. Many of our patients are referred to us from from local safety-net agencies and health care providers, including:
- Area emergency rooms
- Area hospital discharge planners
- Wake County Human Services
- Alliance Medical Ministries
- The Healing Place
- Raleigh Rescue Mission
- South Wilmington Street Center
- Urban Ministries Open Door Clinic
- The Women’s Center
- Franklin County Health Department
- Franklin County Social Services