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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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Operating a Health Center

Health centers provide comprehensive services that must address the major health care needs of the target population and ensure the availability of essential primary care and preventive health services—including, as appropriate, oral health, mental health, and substance abuse services. Health centers also include a variety of supportive and enabling services that promote access and quality of care such as translation/interpretation, case management, community outreach, nutrition, and transportation.


Policies related to the Health Center Program are communicated to grantees through Policy Information Notices (PINs) and Program Assistance Letters (PALs):

  • PINs define and clarify policies and procedures that grantees funded under Section 330 must follow.
  • PALs summarize and explain items of significance for health centers, including, for example, HRSA program implementation activities, recently enacted laws, final regulations, and/or new HHS initiatives.

Health Center Program Site Visit Guide

The Health Center Program Site Visit Guide (PDF - 692 KB) updated 11/2014 is the Bureau of Primary Health Care's standardized review instrument used to conduct Operational Site Visits and, when appropriate, other types of site visits at health centers. It includes review questions used by the team conducting the site visit to assess compliance with each program requirement, as well as to review progress on clinical and financial performance and capital grants (if applicable), and, when possible, to identify any best practices established by the health center. Health centers also may use this guide to assess compliance with program requirements and to identify clinical and financial performance improvement areas.

Preventive and Primary Health Care Guidelines

Other Resources

Technical Assistance

Partnerships with state, regional and other national organizations has been developed to provide Health Center Program grantees technical assistance across a broad range of topics including need assessment, services, management and finance, governance.  More about technical assistance.

Data & Statistics

Uniform Data System (UDS) Reports, Data Highlights and Reporting Technical Assistance.

More Health Center Data >