800-546-7106 [email protected]

Becoming and FQHC or FQHC Look Alike

Looking to become an FQHC or FQHC Look Alike?  Start here on your journey.

Contact us:  If you are interested in becoming an FQHC or Look Alike

Becoming an FQHC or FQHC Look Alike

Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) include all organizations receiving grants under Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act (PHS). FQHCs qualify for enhanced reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid, as well as other benefits. FQHCs must serve an underserved area or population, offer a sliding fee scale, provide comprehensive services, have an ongoing quality assurance program, and have a governing board of directors that is made up of at least 51% users of the clinic. Certain tribal organizations and FQHC Look-Alikes (an organization that meets PHS Section 330 eligibility requirements, but does not receive grant funding) also may receive special Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.

When considering the various health center model options, there are several questions to consider:

  • What is the community need regarding health status, access and barriers to care? 
  • What is the likelihood of creating a patient-majority governing board of directors?  
  • Can a comprehensive range of services be delivered?  
  • Is the location in a qualifying federal shortage designation area, or serve an underserved population? 
  • Is the model financially sustainable?

If you are an organization trying to decide whether to pursue FQHC or FQHC Look Alike status, FQHCmd can:



New Access Point and Service Area Competition Grants


FQHC & FQHC Look Alike applications for Public Entities


Development of required documentation including Policies and Procedures for HR, Finance and Internal Control and Clinical (both Medical and Dental)


Explain and help in developing the Corporate Governance requirements for FQHC/FQHC LAL


Board & Staff Training


Operational & Efficiency Assessments

  • Understanding the differences between the FQHC Look Alike and Section 330 grantee status, and presenting the requirements and benefits of both.
  • Demonstrate and explain the differences in requirements for a public entity Look-Alike or Section 330 grantee
  • Assist an organization in understanding the realities of FQHC governance
  • Develop Governing, Clinical, Human Resource and General Policy and Procedures for your organization
  • Conduct a feasibility assessment to guide your decision making which includes all governance, clinical, operational, and financial aspects of your organization
  • Assist in planning and budgeting for your organization
  • Develop strategies to submit a robust application(s)
  • Develop work plans with timetables and responsibilities to assist your organization to meet the FQHC requirements
  • Prepare or assist in preparation either or both FQHC Look-Alike & Section 330 applications, including:
    • Needs Assessment
    • Develop Budgets and Plans
    • Developing a Health Care Plan with Clinic Management
    • Assist in developing Business Plans with your organization
    • Assist with the required federal forms
  • Provide Board training and assist in organizing your board
  • Mock Survey:  A complete on-site intensive review that covers all areas for potential upcoming HRSA Operational Site Visit (OSV)



Are you in or service an MUA or MUP?

All organizations submitting a look-alike initial designation application and current look-alikes must demonstrate that they are serving, in whole or in part, a federally-designated MUA and/or MUP. While the clinic site does not have to be located in an MUA, the organization must demonstrate that it primarily serves persons who live in a MUA or are part of a MUP.

The Index of Medical Underservice (IMU) is applied to data on a service area to obtain a score for the area. The IMU scale is from 0 to 100, where 0 represents completely underserved and 100 represents best served or least underserved. 

Under the established criteria, each service area or population group found to have an IMU of 62.0 or less qualifies for designation as an Medically Underserved Area or Medically Underserved Population..

The IMU involves four variables – ratio of primary medical care physicians per 1,000 population, infant mortality rate, percentage of the population with incomes below the poverty level, and percentage of the population age 65 or over. The value of each of these variables for the service area is converted to a weighted value, according to established criteria. The four values are summed to obtain the area’s IMU score.

Not sure if your clinic is in an MUA or MUP designated area?  Click here to be taken to HRSA’s site Find Shortage Area