What’s a Community Health Center?
Community Health Centers (CHC) like Advance Community Health set themselves apart from other providers by delivering a wide range of services to improve the overall health of their patients and the community. They are private, nonprofit, patient-governed, community-directed organizations that remove common barriers to care by serving communities who otherwise confront financial, geographic, language, cultural or other barriers.
Advance Community Health, formerly Wake Health Services, is part of a nationwide network of 1200 Federally-Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) established in the late 60’s during the War on Poverty. In North Carolina, there are 34 Federally Qualified health Centers serving 450,000 North Carolinians. North Carolina’s Community Health Centers generate over $359 million in economic impact.
Community Health Centers:
- are locally-owned, private, nonprofit charitable tax-exempt organizations
- provide high-quality comprehensive preventive and primary health services regardless of insurance status or ability to pay
- are located in high-need areas where there is a shortage of medical professionals, barriers to access to healthcare for the people that live there, or both.
- tailor services to fit the special needs, priorities, and cultural sensitivities of their communities.
- must have a Board of Trustees made up of 51% patients to ensure the center is meeting local needs.
- reduce the need for expensive hospital, ER and specialty care.
Our Economic Impact
Advance Community Health provides over $4.5 million annually in discounted or free medical care, dental care and discounted or free drug prescriptions for patients who could not afford to pay. Learn more about Community Health Centers at The National Association of Community Health Centers or The North Carolina Community Health Center Association.
How Does The Community Health Center Model Work?
- Established in 1965 as a War on Poverty program, today’s federally funded, nonprofit Community Health Centers provide primary care for the uninsured and underinsured, as well as those with Medicaid, Medicare, Health Choice and private insurance.
- Community Health Centers go where medical care is needed and physicians are few— AND we offer a discount on fees for the uninsured.
- Community Health Centers go above and beyond with vital support services including: dental care, mental health and substance abuse counseling, health education, language translation, and case management by social workers.
- Community Health Centers care for the health of entire communities. Federal standards require that we regularly and rigorously assess community needs. We provide free health promotion, education, and outreach. Our success is measured not only one patient at a time, but through community-wide outcomes such as childhood immunization rates and infant mortality.
- Community Health Centers deliver primary care that is equal to or better than other providers and report high patient satisfaction ratings. We narrow gaps in health disparities for the poor and boost the health for the chronically ill.
- Community Health Centers lower the overall cost of medical care by reducing costly trips to hospitals and Emergency Rooms and by focusing on preventive care. Health Centers provide high quality care at $1.64 per patient per day.