Community Health Centers (CHCs) are nonprofit organizations located in medically under served areas (MUAs), providing comprehensive primary health care to anyone seeking care. In addition to treating individual patients, a health center emphasizes health promotion and disease prevention for entire communities. A Community Health Center does not deny anyone primary health care services — all community residents have equal access regardless of ability to pay, geographic location, culture, age, sex, or religion.
The three key aspects of CHCs — universal access, cost effectiveness, and community governance — continue to prove to be the most effective long term solution for meeting primary health care needs in medically under served areas. As Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), CHCs provide a wide range of services to their patients. Among the core services are:
- Physician care
- X-Ray services
- Laboratory services
- Preventive services (mammography, well-child, etc.)
- Transportation for health services
- Case management
- Specialty referrals
Some CHCs also offer inpatient physician care, dental care, and behavioral health services. Additionally, in order to maximize limited resources, CHCs develop linkages in the community with other private and public providers, pharmacies, nursing homes, and local business.