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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration
Primary Care: The Health Center Program

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Health Center Program Look-Alikes

Renewal of Designation/Annual Certification Application Instructions Technical Assistance Call

Presentation (PDF - 300 KB)
Transcript (PDF - 235 KB)
Recording (MP3 - 4.3 MB)

Look-Alike Initial Designation Application Instructions

All applications begun in the HRSA EHB on or after February 8, 2013 are required to comply with the application instructions below. Applications started prior to February 8, 2013 will be reviewed under the 2011/2012 guidance.

Look-Alike Initial Designation Application Instructions (PDF – 677 KB)

Look-Alike Program Overview and Application Process Presentation (PDF – 478 KB)

Look-Alike Initial Designation Frequently Asked Questions (PDF – 627 KB)

BPHC Program Assistance Letter (PAL) 2013-10, “Look-Alike Program Update: On-Site Compliance Review for Initial Designation and Designation Period Changes” — This PAL describes changes to the Look-Alike Initial Designation application review process and the maximum designation periods for newly-designated and existing look-alike health centers. For more information about this PAL, please see the following links: 


What is a Look-Alike?

Health Center Program look-alikes support the health of the Nation’s underserved communities and vulnerable populations by increasing access to comprehensive, culturally competent, quality primary health care services. Look-Alikes are health centers that operate and provide services consistent with all statutory, regulatory, and policy requirements that apply to Health Center Program grantees, but do not receive funding under section 330.

Eligibility Requirements

Organizations eligible for look-alike designation include public or nonprofit private entities, including tribal, faith-based, and community-based organizations. Applicants must propose to expand their network of service delivery sites to serve new underserved populations.

Under the Calendar Year 2013 Look-Alike Initial Designation instructions, applicants must propose to establish a new access point that:

  1. Provides comprehensive primary medical care as its primary purpose;
  2. Provides services, either directly onsite or through established arrangements, without regard to ability to pay;
  3. Ensures access to services for all individuals in the service area/population; and
  4. Provides services at one or more permanent service delivery sites. 

Summary of Program Requirements

Look-Alikes are expected to demonstrate compliance with the applicable requirements of section 330 of the PHS Act, 42 Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) Part 51c (Grants for Community Health Centers), and 42 C.F.R. Part 56 (Grants for Migrant Health Services and Migrant Health Centers), as applicable.  Organizations are encouraged to review the section 330 program requirements, in addition to the applicable statutes, regulations, and policies (located in the Resources section of this page) for look-alikes prior to developing an application.

Technical Assistance 

Program-Specific Forms

All forms are located and completed in HRSA’s  Electronic Handbook (EHB) system.  Below are samples of the forms found in EHB.

Renewal of Designation and Annual Certification Applications

Application Guidance 

Electronic Handbooks (EHB) User Guides

Annual Certification and Renewal of Designation Technical Assistance Call

 Data, Measures, and Mapping

PAL 2013-10

PAL 2013-04

PAL 2013-01

PAL 2011-10

PAL 2011-08

Performance Measures



For Information about Look-alikes

Office of Policy and Program Development

For EHB Application Assistance

BPHC Helpline
1-877-974-BPHC (2742)
8:30 am to 5:30 pm ET, Monday through Friday
Complete form

Application Help

Additional technical assistance for current and prospective look-alikes is found at your state's Primary Care Association (PCA), Primary Care Office (PCO), or any of HRSA's National Cooperative Agreement organizations.  For a list of contacts, see Partner Links.

Look-Alike Frequently Asked Questions (PDF – 627 KB)

Health Center Program Requirements

Health Center Policy Information Notices (PINs) and Program Assistance Letters (PALs)

2014 Uniform Data System Reporting Changes for Look-Alikes

Health Center Program Technical Assistance

Medically Underserved Area/Population (MUA/MUP) Designations

Tips for Writing a Strong Application

UDS Mapper exit icon

Health Center Data