Family Health Center of Boone County “…opened with a flurry of activity on June 1, 1992. Media coverage of the opening of the clinic generated numerous telephone calls and walk-in patients inquiring about eligibility and services….,” according to a news release. A flurry of activity and expansion continues as FHC seeks to meet the medical, dental and behavioral health care needs of mid and north central Missouri.
The Center was established through a cooperative effort and funding sources of the Missouri Department of Social Services, University Hospital and Clinics, Boone Hospital Center, Columbia Regional Hospital and the United Way of Columbia. Its purpose was to meet the medically underserved needs in Boone County. The original operating budget was $330,000. Donations made up $315,000 of the revenue.
It was staffed by two part-time family practice physicians, one nurse practitioner, and a registered nurse to provide primary and preventative health care services five days a week with plans to serve about 5000 patients the first year. Charges for the uninsured were based upon income, and those who qualified paid by a sliding fee discount. There were also as many as 71 doctors of the Boone County Medical Society program, “Doctors Sharing Care,” who volunteered to help staff the clinic on a daily basis.
Today, Family Health Center serves more than 15,000 patients and renders over 50,000 medical, dental, and behavioral health services annually in Columbia, and two small rural sites in Salisbury and Marceline. FHC employs 5 full-time and 1 half-time physicians, 3 full-time and 2 part-time nurse practitioners, 2 full-time licensed clinical social workers, 4 full-time dentists, and 2 full-time dental hygienists. Typically there are 11 part-time University of Missouri Medical School physician residents and associated attending University physicians caring for patients at FHC under their Residency Programs.
Family Health Center’s mission statement relates that , “Family Health Center exists to provide access to primary medical, dental and mental health services for community members, with emphasis on the medically underserved, to improve the health of the community and to train future health care providers.”
Phil Peters, a former board member of Family Health Center wrote in a 2003 news release, “The Center resembles the free clinics of old. Unlike those clinics, however, the health center’s patients are expected to accept responsibility for their care and to pay what they can….Perhaps the most important difference…is that Family Health Center is a ‘real’ doctor’s office, not a clinic. It is a place where patients establish a long-term personal relationship with one of the center’s health-care providers….” Family Health Center seeks to be the Health Home for all of our patients.
Today, FHC’s budget exceeds $8 million annually. About 30% of the revenue comes from Federal and State of Missouri grants, University of Missouri Health Care, the Heart of Missouri United Way, Boone Hospital Center, the Missouri Foundation for Health, businesses and private individual donations and fundraising events. The remaining 70% of revenues are derived from reimbursement for services rendered to patients covered under private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and self pay patients.
Family Health Center is a member of a network of community health centers, the Missouri Primary Care Association www.mo-pca.org and the National Association of Community Health Centers www.nachc.org . There are 21 health centers in Missouri, with over 181 sites, serving more than 350,000 patients. Nationally health centers have 8000 sites, serving over 23 million patients.
According to studies procured by NACHC, community health centers’ comprehensive approach to preventative and primary health care is estimated to generate $24 billion in savings to the health care system nationally.
A Stanford School of Medicine study released July 10, 2012 states that, “Community Health Centers compare well with private practices, researcher finds.” Their study shows that in 13 out of 18 measures, health centers scored just as well as private practices, and on 5 measures scored higher. Their study adds that this is accomplished while serving a population of patients with more chronic illnesses and social-economic challenges.
Family Health Center’s success has been built upon the quality of services of medical and dental staff working collaboratively, and enhanced by the access to resources provided through the Missouri Primary Care Association and the National Association of Community Health Centers. Since implementing an electronic medical record system, FHC has been enabled to study the health outcomes of patients in order to enhance best practices and further improve the health of its patients.
Family Health Center is a Health Center Program grantee under Section 330 of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act (42 U.S.C. 254b).