242944 Federally Qualified Health Centers: An Opportunity to Expand Access to Reproductive Health

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 10:50 AM

Lisa M. Maldonado, MPH , Reproductive Health Access Project, New York, NY
Federally-Qualified Health Centers, also known as Community Health Centers (CHCs), have become the largest national network of primary care providers and provide care to our nation's most underserved communities. Established in 1975, CHCs have benefited from strong Congressional support, doubling in number and capacity every ten years since 1990. The health care reform enacted in 2010 includes $11 billion in new, dedicated funding for CHCs to double their current capacity to 40 million patients by 2015. CHCs are required by law to provide comprehensive primary and preventive health care including voluntary family planning services. While the data is clear that federally funded CHCs are effective at reducing infant mortality and providing vulnerable populations with immunizations, pap smears and other preventive health services, their track record with respect to providing mandated family planning services is mixed, at best. This presentation will outline the federal requirements for CHCs, analyze their growth in the US, and explain how CHCs services are organized and monitored. The presentation will include data illustrating populations served, the scope of services provided by community health centers, and research findings on the quality of reproductive health care in CHC settings. Data will be presented contextualizing the role of CHCs in delivering comprehensive reproductive health care in the United States. The presentation will also include a discussion of the barriers, both political and legal, that CHCs face in providing full-spectrum reproductive health care.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education

Learning Objectives:
Understand the legal definitions and requirements that govern federally qualified community health centers and look-a-like centers. Describe the populations served by federally qualified health centers and the role of federally qualified health centers in health care reform and reducing health disparities. Articulate how specific federal policies impede and/or facilitate the provision of comprehensive reproductive health services in community health centers. Explain how ensuring the provision of full comprehensive reproductive health services by community health centers can help eliminate health disparities.

Keywords: Primary Care, Reproductive Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked for over 15 years in primary and reproductive health care - designing, implementing and evaluating programs that integrate family planning services into primary care settings.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.