The Impact of Federally-Qualified Health Centers in New York

There are more than 70 federally-qualified health centers (FQHCs) with 800 sites throughout New York, according to the Community Health Care Association of NY (CHCANYS). FQHCs are community-based health care providers that receive funds from the HRSA Health Center Program to provide care services in underserved areas. They are an effective and trusted source of care for many people who otherwise might be unable to obtain care quickly and efficiently. 

These organizations provide community members critical services such as family and internal medicine; pediatrics; women’s health; dental; behavioral health; nutrition counseling; WIC (women, infant and child) services; health education services; benefits counseling; and transportation services. 

FQHCs serve the most vulnerable populations, including 1 in 6 Medicaid beneficiaries, 1 in 3 Americans living in poverty and 1 in 5 people living in rural areas. Beyond that, roughly 355,000 veterans, 1.3 million people experiencing homelessness and nearly 3.5 million individuals living in public housing receive services from FQHCs each year. 

These health centers have the ability to positively impact people’s day-to-day lives through more than just access to clinical care. 

“Eighty percent of what influences a person’s health has nothing to do with clinical care,” Pat Celli, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of New York said. “FQHCS are so important to the New York community because they work to address socioeconomic and environmental factors that affect a person’s overall health, including access to food, transportation and housing.” 

One FQHC, Hudson River HealthCare, serves over 185,000 patients through more than 780,000 visits annually at their health centers. 

During National Health Center Week in August, UnitedHealthcare worked with Hudson River HealthCare (HRH) to supply housing insecure community members with personal items kits that included socks, shampoo, snacks and more. 

“Hudson River HealthCare has a long-standing commitment to meeting our patients where they are,” said Carlos Ortiz, HRHCare VP of Operations for Suffolk County. “We are fortunate to have so many partner organizations, including UnitedHealthcare, who help link our patients to services like health insurance information and enrollment, housing assistance, food pantries and clothing and hygiene supplies.”

Additionally, to help support the mission and goals of other FQHCs throughout New York, UnitedHealthcare donated funds to 15 centers throughout the state. The grant will be used for things such as stethoscopes, pens, pads, play therapy tools, medical devices and more.  

“By addressing these social determinants of health, we are helping break down barriers to healthy living for patients no matter what their background, income or housing status is,” Ortiz said.