A community health center has:
- A 501(c)3 IRS determination.
- A volunteer governing board of directors, 51% of whom are service users.
- A service area that has substantial numbers of uninsured and/or low income patients.
- The goal to provide a comprehensive system of primary care, medical, dental, mental health, and pharmacy services.
- A sliding fee scale based on the annual Federal Poverty Guidelines.
- A Quality Improvement Program (or Quality Assurance Program).
- A Public Health Service section 330 grant that is typically renewed every three (3) years with annual submissions of budgets and program progress.
- Federal Tort Claims Act liability coverage for its professionals.
- Enhanced reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid, with the filing of an annual cost report.
- Access to affordable prescriptions for uninsured patients through 340B Federal Drug Pricing Program.
- Opportunities to attract providers from the National Health Service Corps of professionals and physicians with a J-1 Visa Waiver and professionals with an H-1B Visa.
The Importance of Grant Funding for Community Health Centers
Throughout the year, community health centers have the opportunity to apply for grant funds. These funds allow health centers to provide new or expanded services. However, most grant opportunities are highly-competitive. Winning these grants, therefore, typically requires a significant investment of time, labor, and other resources, which many community health centers simply cannot spare. Thus, community health centers often either fail to pursue grants or enter into the application process without a strategic plan, which often results in overworked employees and wasted time but rarely funding.
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