Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) such as community health centers have been import¬ant sources of treatment for underserved and low-income communities, and these roles expanded even further with the passage of the ACA in 2010. Run by both private and public organizations, community health centers saw an estimated 25.9 million children and adults in 2016 according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, with growth spurred largely by Medicaid expansion.
FQHCs generally operate in urban and rural settings, often functioning as safety-net providers or expanding healthcare access in sparsely populated areas. Unsurprisingly, the FQHCs with the highest volumes are generally found in or near large cities. Ventura County, whose publicly funded centers had the highest volume, is located just outside Los Angeles. A disproportionate number of high-volume FQHCs operate in California, likely due to the state’s high population and significant enrollment in Medi-Cal, the state’s version of Medicaid. The top 25 centers also had wide variations in total compensation.
Of the centers with the greatest number of patient visits, total compensation ranged from $35 to $151 million. Neither is necessarily a strong indicator of volume, as some locations may be in rural areas and many can be staffed by physician assistants or nurses rather than physicians.