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  3. What is a Health Center?

What is a Health Center?

Health centers are local clinics. They treat people’s medical, dental, mental health, substance use, and other health care needs.

All health centers:

  • Are community-based and led in part by patients
  • Focus on meeting the needs of the people and areas they serve
  • Provide a full range of care. They have doctors, dentists, therapists, social workers, eye doctors, obstetricians/gynecologists, pediatricians, case managers, and other medical staff.
  • Adjust their fees based on income and family size

Many health centers:

  • Offer care in multiple languages. They can provide interpretation and translation services.
  • Can help with transportation if patients have trouble getting to a clinic.
  • Have on-site pharmacies that provide discounted prescription drugs.

Who do health centers serve?

Health centers provide care to people and groups who find it difficult to access health care. This includes:

  • People without homes
  • Migrant farm workers
  • People who live in public housing
  • Veterans

About 90% of health center patients have incomes less than 200% of the federal poverty level.

What must health centers do?

We require health centers to comply with all Health Center Program requirements. Health centers must:

  • Have a governing board where a majority of its members are patients
  • Focus on the needs of the groups of people and the areas they serve
  • Develop systems of care that center on the patient
  • Serve everyone, even if they cannot pay
  • Charge for services on a sliding fee scale
  • Provide all required services
  • Follow everything else the Compliance Manual requires

How do I find a health center?

Use the Find a Health Center tool to locate a health center clinic near you. The site provides contact information and directions to each location.

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