How to Become a Health Center

Two Paths into the Health Center Program

There are two ways that health care organizations can become part of the Health Center Program: 

  • Through successful competition for Health Center Program funding; and 
  • Through successful look-alike application. Overviews of each path appear below. Regardless of the path, organizations must be compliant with all Health Center Program requirements and related Federal and State requirements.

Health Center Program Funding

Public and private non-profit health care organizations may apply to receive Health Center Program grant funding by applying to an open funding opportunity announcement.

  • New Access Point grants provide funding to support new service delivery sites that will provide comprehensive primary health care services. Applicants can be existing grantees or new organizations that do not currently receive Health Center Program grant funds.
  • Service Area Competition grants provide funding to support continued, comprehensive primary health care services in areas currently served by Health Center Program grantees. Both current Health Center Program grantees and new organizations proposing to serve the announced service areas may apply. Only one grant is awarded for each announced service area.

HRSA assesses applications for eligibility and reviews them through an objective process. Applicants receive written notification of the review process, including a summary of the application's strengths and weaknesses as identified by the objective review committee.

Health Center Program Look-Alike Designation

Public and private non-profit health care organizations may apply for look-alike designation (designation without Health Center Program grant funding, but with many of the same benefits) at any time. Look-alike applicants may not be owned, controlled, or operated by another entity.

Applicants must be operational for at least 6 months before submitting an application.

For more information and application instructions, go to Health Center Program Look-Alikes.