Since their 1965 beginning as a small War on Poverty experiment, community health centers have matured into a principal part of the health system for thousands of medically underserved urban and rural communities that experience elevated poverty and health risks. Health centers serve patients of all ages and provide an entry point into specialized care, and frequently, a bridge to services aimed at addressing underlying social determinants of health. To provide this care, health centers rely on multiple funding sources. The two major funding sources are Medicaid payments for covered services furnished to enrollees who are health center patients, along with federal grants made pursuant to Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act, which establishes and authorizes the health centers program.

This new  issue brief  from the Kaiser Family Foundation  (KFF) describes health centers’ role in health care and these two primary sources of health center revenue—Medicaid and Section 330 funding. The evolution of these funding streams has contributed to significant growth in the health center program, enabling expanded services to millions of additional residents of the nation’s most medically underserved rural and urban communities.

The authors are Sara Rosenbaum, Jessica Sharac, Peter Shin (Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health Policy, Milken Institute School of Public Health, GW) and Jennifer Tolbert (KFF). 

Additional funding  support  for the study was provided by the RCHN Community Health Foundation.

The brief is available on the KFF website  or you may download a copy here.