CHC Advantages

Working at a Community Health Center (CHC) is a unique experience with an abundance of advantages. Here are just a few of the myriad benefits to keep in mind when considering a career in a CHC.

Please click or scroll down to learn more about the following CHC advantages:
Patient-Directed and Patient-Centered Care
Mission-Driven Environments
Commitment to High Quality Care
Strong Support Networks
Growing Need for CHC Professionals
Potential Scholarship and/or Loan Repayment Funds
Coverage of Professional Malpractice Costs

Note: For a detailed explanation of Community Health Centers, please link to our About CHCs webpage.

PATIENT-DIRECTED AND PATIENT-CENTERED CARE

In order to become part of the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC) Health Center Program, a CHC must have a community-based board of directors, and a majority of the board members must use the health center and represent the community served in terms of demographic factors such as race, ethnicity, sex, age, and socioeconomic status.

To learn more about CHC Boards of Directors, please visit our CHC Board Resources webpage.

The vast majority of CHCs are currently certified as Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMH) or are working towards that recognition as part of their continuous quality improvement efforts. You can find many different definitions of PCMH, but the underlying purpose of all PCMH models is to structure primary care in a way that puts the needs of the patient first.

To learn more about Patient-Centered Medical Homes, please visit the PCMH and Meaningful Use section of our Quality Improvement Resources webpage.

MISSION-DRIVEN ENVIRONMENTS

Community Health Centers serve all patients, regardless of their ability to pay, and provide services to the most medically vulnerable populations in their communities. CHCs allow healthcare professionals to fully engage with the purpose of primary care: to treat patients in need.

For more information about the CHC movement and mission, please visit the CHAMPS About CHCs webpage and the BPHC About the Health Center Program webpage. 

To learn more about the special and vulnerable populations served by CHCs, please visit our Special Populations webpage.

COMMITMENT TO HIGH QUALITY CARE supported by a network of dedicated health professionals and resources.

The Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC) – the federal agency that administers the Health Center Program – requires all Community Health Centers to meet a variety of clinical and non-clinical quality measures.

To learn more about BPHC’s expectations for quality in the Health Center Program, visit their Clinical Quality Improvement and Performance Measures webpages.

Visit NACHC’s Research and Data webpage for summaries of peer-reviewed articles highlighting the ways that health centers improve quality and reduce disparities.

The Mountain/Plains Clinical Network (MPCN), a program of CHAMPS, provides professional, administrative, and educational support to all clinicians that practice in community, migrant, and homeless health centers and National Health Service Corps (NHSC) sites in Region VIII in order to ensure the delivery of the highest quality of care to poor and underserved populations.

Please visit our Mountain/Plains Clinical Network webpage for more information.

See our Clinical Resources and Quality Improvement Resources webpages for additional support. 

STRONG SUPPORT NETWORKS through State and Regional Primary Care Associations (PCAs), National Cooperative Agreements (NCAs), and Health Center Controlled Networks (HCCNs).

These associations and networks bring together leaders from CHCs to foster connections and collaborations among leaders from nearly 1,400 CHCs nationwide.

To learn more about PCAs, please visit the CHAMPS About PCAs webpage and BPHC’s PCA webpage.

To learn more about NCAs, please visit BPHC’s NCA webpage.

To learn more about HCCNs, please visit BPHC’s HCCN webpage.

For more information about PCAs and NCAs nationwide, please visit our Links webpage.

To learn more about Region VIII CHC clinical peer support opportunities, please visit the CHAMPS Mountain/Plains Clinical Network webpage.

To learn more about Region VIII CHC workforce development peer learning opportunities, please visit our Workforce Development webpage.

GROWING NEED FOR COMMITTED CHC PROFESSIONALS

Recent fundamental changes in our health care system have resulted in an ever-growing need for skilled and dedicated primary care professionals, especially at our nation’s Community Health Centers. The passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA), which drastically increased the number of insured Americans, generated a newfound national focus on the importance of primary care and an increase in patient demand for health center services.

Community Health Centers are encouraged by this increased emphasis on primary care. However, they are also feeling the strain on their systems and resources, particularly when it comes to hiring qualified clinical and administrative staff to manage this influx of new patients. Region VIII has felt the shortage of healthcare staff even more acutely than other areas of the country due to its unique demographic and geographic characteristics.

Joining the Community Health Center movement in Region VIII means that you will be contributing to a 50+ year-old mission of ensuring access to quality primary care for all.

To learn more about why communities with higher proportions of low-income and minority residents – such as rural areas – tend to experience a lower supply of primary care providers, see the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Primary Care Workforce in the United States report.

To explore open job opportunities at Community Health Centers in Region VIII, visit the CHAMPS Job Opportunities Bank.

POTENTIAL SCHOLARSHIP AND/OR LOAN REPAYMENT FUNDS through the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and/or State Loan Repayment Programs.

Both NHSC and state-based programs require health center clinicians to be located in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). All Community Health Centers are automatically located in HPSAs by nature of being Federally Qualified Health Centers. Therefore, while no CHC can promise loan repayment, the chances of receiving loan repayment when working at a CHC are much higher than at other types of health care facilities.

  • NHSC Loan Repayment Program – Clinicians may earn up to $50,000 in loan repayment for a two-year service commitment at an NHSC site.
  • NHSC Scholarship Program – Students pursuing primary care careers can receive scholarships for serving communities in need upon graduation and completion of training.
  • NHSC Students to Service Loan Repayment Program – Medical (MD) and dental (DDS or DMD) students in their final year of school can receive up to $120,000 in return for a commitment to provide full time primary health care for at least three years at an NHSC site.
  • State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) – A federally-funded grant program for states and territories providing matching funds; not all states offer SLRPs.

For more information, follow the links above and visit the CHAMPS Understanding HPSAs and MUAs and State Loan Repayment Program webpages.

COVERAGE OF PROFESSIONAL MALPRACTICE COSTS

The Federal Torts Claims Act (FTCA) provides professional liability coverage to providers practicing in deemed Community Health Centers.

For more information, please visit BPHC’s Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) webpage.