Federally Qualified Health Care
CommUnityCare is a Federally Qualified Health Center, or FQHC. This means our practice has met strict guidelines established by the Federal Bureau of Primary Health Care. These guidelines require that we offer a specific scope of services including care for those without health insurance. The board oversees the governance of our health center operations. We are proud to have earned this designation. We are part of a vital safety net in the nation’s health care delivery system. *As a Health Center Program grantee under 42 U.S.C.254b, CommUnityCare receives HHS funding and has federal public health services (PHS) deemed status with respect to certain health or health-related claims, including medical malpractice claims for itself and its covered individuals.
Federally Qualified Health Centers are eligible to:
- Receive enhanced reimbursement (payment) from Medicare and Medicaid.
- Participate in the 340B Program that allows us to purchase prescription drugs at reduced prices.
- Have access to medical malpractice insurance through the Federal Tort Claims Act. This lowers our cost of operation.
- Today, the network of FQHCs nationwide is growing. Over 1,000 health centers across the country serve more than 13 million people.
Responding to Increasing Demand in Central Texas
Travis County has an estimated 172,000 uninsured residents, or 19.3% of its population. Many of these residents have great difficulty getting access to basic primary and preventive health care. Local “safety net” primary care providers such as CommUnityCare often operate at more than 100% of our capacity. In Travis County, CommUnityCare clinics provide approximately half of local safety net primary care services. We are the largest provider for these services in the area. CommUnityCare works hard to respond to the increasing need for health care services.
Central Health was formed in 2004. It is a limited-purpose taxing district responsible for providing health care to indigent people living in Travis County. Central Health provides most of the funding for the operation of the CommUnityCare centers. In addition, Central Health and CommUnityCare are co-applicants for the Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) designation.
Roles and Responsibilities of Central Health
- Holds the FQHC status.
- Owns assets and leases to the FQHC under an equipment and facility agreement.
- Jointly approves the FQHC budget with the CommUnityCare board of directors.
- Central Health is governed by its own board.
Roles and Responsibilities of CommUnityCare
- Employs the physicians and staff.
- Manages the operation of all clinical care sites.
- Manages all administrative operations associated with operating the clinical care sites.
CommUnityCare is governed by the Central Texas Community Health Centers board of directors. As required by the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), the FQHC board must be composed of more than 51% patients of the health centers. This ensures the decisions of the board and organization are patient-centered.
In addition to our patient members, our board represents a wide variety of community professions, including nursing, law, human resources and pharmacy. Two of the 15 seats on the board are appointed by Central Health. Members are elected to serve two-year terms.
Roles and Responsibilities of the Board
The roles and responsibilities of the FQHC board of directors include, in part:
- Selecting services to be provided by the clinics.
- Approving the annual budget.
- Ensuring the clinics are operating in compliance with the law.
- Adopting health care policies, including scope and availability of services, locations and hours of services.
- Evaluating clinic activities, including services, community needs and community-specific health care initiatives.
- Approving grants.
- Hiring and evaluating the CEO.