Health centers are community-based and patient-directed organizations that serve populations with limited access to health care. These include low income populations, the uninsured, those with limited English proficiency.
Some health centers also receive specific funding to focus on certain special populations:
In 2011, health centers served 862,808 migrant and seasonal farm workers and their families; more than 1 million individuals experiencing homelessness; 187,991 residents of public housing; and 8,423 (data has not yet been updated for 2011) Native Hawaiians.
Migrant Health Centers
In 2011, HRSA-funded health centers served 862,808 migrant or seasonal farm workers and their families. It is estimated that HRSA-funded health center programs serve more than one quarter of all migrant and seasonal farm workers in the United States.
The Migrant Health Center program provides support to health centers to deliver comprehensive, high quality, culturally-competent preventive and primary health services to migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their families with a particular focus on the occupational health and safety needs of this population. Principal employment for both migrant and seasonal farmworkers must be in agriculture.
The National Advisory Council on Migrant Health regularly advises, consults with, and makes recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the HRSA Administrator on migrant health issues.
Health Care for the Homeless Program
Homelessness continues to be a pervasive problem throughout the U.S., affecting rural as well as urban and suburban communities. According to a recent national survey, it is estimated that 930,589 people are homeless on a given night and 2 to 3 million are homeless over the course of a year.
The Health Care for the Homeless Program is a major source of care for homeless persons in the United States, serving patients that live on the street, in shelters, or in transitional housing. In 2011, HRSA-funded health centers served more than 1 million persons experiencing homelessness.
Health Care for the Homeless grantees recognize the complex needs of homeless persons and strive to provide a coordinated, comprehensive approach to health care including substance abuse and mental health services.
Frequently Asked Questions on Health Care for the Homeless Program (PDF - 259 KB)
Public Housing Primary Care Health Centers
The Public Housing Primary Care Program provides residents of public housing with increased access to comprehensive primary health care services through the direct provision of health promotion, disease prevention, and primary health care services. Services are provided on the premises of public housing developments or at other locations immediately accessible to residents. In 2011, HRSA-funded health centers served 187,992 residents of public housing.
The Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems (NHHCS) Program, funded within the health center appropriation, improves the health status of Native Hawaiians by making health education, health promotion, and disease prevention services available through the support of NHHCS.
Native Hawaiians face cultural, financial, social, and geographic barriers that prevent them from utilizing existing health services. In addition, health services are often unavailable in the community.
The NHHCS use a combination of outreach, referral, and linkage mechanisms to provide or arrange services. Services provided include nutrition programs, screening and control of hypertension and diabetes, immunizations, and basic primary care services. In 2011, NHHCS provided medical and enabling encounters to 8,423 people (data has not yet been updated for 2011).
The Native Hawaiian Health Care Program also supports a health professions scholarship program for Native Hawaiians, the Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program (NHHSP), and administrative costs for Papa Ola Lokahi, an organization that coordinates and assists health care programs provided to Native Hawaiians.