What is a Community Health Center?
Community Health Centers (CHCs) are federally designated entities that provide comprehensive primary care services regardless of ability to pay. CHCs also provide access to dental and mental health services.
CHCs have been around for more than 45 years. In fact, the second oldest health center is here in Colorado – Denver Health’s Community Health Services.
Over the last ten years, the CHC program has been expanded greatly. Starting in 2001, President George W. Bush proposed a five year initiative to expand CHCs. The goal of the initiative was to develop 1,200 new health center sites across the nation and strengthen the health care safety net for those most in need.
The initiative garnered bipartisan Congressional support and became a reality. Nationally, CHCs grew from serving 11.3 million patients in 2002 to 14.0 million in 2005 through the creation or expansion of nearly 900 new health center sites. At the same time, the CHC program budget grew from $1.34 billion to $1.73 billion.
How do I find out more about CHCs?
Suzanne Smith, the Health Center Data and Operations Manager at CCHN, can answer questions and work with communities interested in the CHC model, provide interested communities with more detailed information on the CHC model, connect interested communities to nearby CHCs, and assist in determining if the CHC model is appropriate for the community. Contact Suzanne Smith via email or via phone at (303) 861-5165, ext. 234.