Community Development and Research

Community Development  is the collaborative, collective action taken by communities to enhance their long-term social, economic, and environmental conditions. The primary goal of community development is to create a better overall quality of life for everyone in the community. CHCAMS’s assists communities in the establishment and development of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), which are health centers that provide primary care in medically underserved areas.

Common Questions

What Does The Term “Health Center” Mean?

“Health Center” refers to organizations that receive grants under the Health Center Program as authorized under Section 330 of Public Health Service Act, as amended, and FQHC Look-Alike organizations, which meet all the Health Center Program requirements but do not receive Health Center Program grants. Health Centers provide comprehensive primary and preventive care to Medically Underserved Populations/Areas.


Who Administers the Health Center Program?

The Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC), within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), administers the Health Center Program and provides ongoing oversight of Health Center Program grantees and FQHC Look-Alikes. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) certifies FQHC Look-Alikes, based on recommendations provided by HRSA/BPHC.


What Does the Term “Federally Qualified Health Center” Mean?

Medicare and Medicaid statutes define the provider type “Federally Qualified Health Center” (FQHC) (Social Security Act §1861(aa)(4) and §1905(l)(2)(B) respectively). The term FQHC is used by CMS to indicate that an organization is approved to be reimbursed under Medicare and Medicaid using specific methodologies for FQHCs.

Community Development Resources

There are a number of resources that provide detailed information on what it means to be a Community Health Center (CHC). The documents listed below should be reviewed to learn more about the requirements of the CHC model.

Program Information Notices (PINs) and Program Assistance Letters (PALs)

For more information, contact Mr. Joseph Grice, Director of Technical Assistance & Training at 601-981-1817 or