PEOPLE, NOT PROFITS

Community Health Centers (CHCs) are the cornerstone of the health care system in Hawaiʻi, providing essential services to our most vulnerable populations. CHCs are non-profit organizations, and exist in federally-recognized areas where residents have barriers to getting health care. They also actively reinvest in the development of the communities they operate in.

 

What is a Community Health Center?

This award-winning video, produced by Hawai'i Primary Care Association in association with Wall-to-Wall Studios, illustrates the defining characteristics of a Community Health Center so that patients and policymakers can quickly grasp the core reasons why they are the future of health care. 


Community Health Centers (CHCs), also known as Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), are the cornerstone of the health care system and a vital part of our social safety net.

They are non-profit organizations, and exist in federally-recognized areas where residents have barriers to getting health care.

How CHCs Are Different

CHCs specialize in helping people overcome barriers to care by providing a comprehensive array of enabling services that a typical private practice physician would not. This includes language interpretation, transportation assistance, and care that is culturally-competent. 

 

Also, unlike most private physicians, community health centers see patients regardless of their ability to pay. While this doesn’t mean that health care is provided for free, patients who do not have insurance or who are homeless are not turned away simply because they will have difficulty paying for their care.

 

What CHCs Do

Community health centers provide comprehensive, high quality, cost-effective care and are leaders in the effective treatment and management of chronic diseases like diabetes, depression, and hypertension. CHCs are the medical home for nearly 150,000 patients, providing a comprehensive array of services that include*:

  • Primary medical care
  • Behavioral / mental health care
  • Dental services
  • Diagnostic services
  • Prescription drugs
  • Case management
  • Language assistance
  • Culturally-competent and sensitive care
  • Health education, including nutrition counseling
  • Assistance with program applications, including housing and cash assistance

For more information on how community health centers are transforming the health care system by creating patient-centered medical homes throughout Hawai‘i, see Why CHCs Are The Future.

 

*Note: not all services listed are provided at each health center; please contact your nearest CHC directly to determine which services they currently provide.

 

Why CHCs Need Your Help

As non-profit organizations, Community Health Centers must depend on the limited revenue they receive from health plans, government reimbursements, and private grants, in order to function. Because they operate in communities that have significant needs – with higher rates of chronic diseases and greater barriers to care – CHCs invest more time and resources into caring for their vulnerable populations. 

Given that they also provide services to anyone, regardless of their ability to pay, health centers are performing heroic work under extraordinary circumstances.

You can help health centers receive the resources and commitment needed from policymakers and funders by becoming an informed advocate for CHCs. Visit our advocacy section to learn more about how your kokua can help thousands of your friends, family, and neighbors receive the highest quality care possible.