Community Development

What is a Community Health Center?

Community Health Centers (CHCs), also called a Federally Qualified Health Center or FQHC, are federally designated and:

  • Serve all patients regardless of ability to pay.
  • Are located in medically underserved communities or populations.
  • Provide comprehensive health care, including access to dental and mental health services.
  • Are run by community boards: 51% of board members must be patients.
  • Are community-based nonprofits or public agencies with a mission to provide health care to low-income, working families.

CHCs have been around for more than 50 years. In fact, one of the oldest health center is here in Colorado – Denver Health’s Community Health Services. Since the establishment of the Health Center Program in 1965, bipartisan Congressional support has helped to maintain and strengthen the program. For instance, initiatives from both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama helped to create new CHC sites, expand services, and strengthen the health care safety net for those most in need.

How do I find out more about CHCs?

Learn more about how to start a CHC here. As well, Suzanne Smith, the Health Center Operations Division Director at CCHN, can answer questions and work with communities or organizations interested in the CHC model, provide connections to nearby CHCs, and assist in determining if the CHC model is appropriate for the community.