Expanding Federally Qualified Health Centers Address Healthcare Gap In West Central Florida

Mar 25, 2024 at 10:00 am by Matt

Federally Qualified Health Centers are on the rise in West Central Florida. There's a notable shift in healthcare dynamics, with over 700,000 Floridians removed from the state's Medicaid program due to revised eligibility requirements this year, as indicated by the nonprofit KFF.

This change leaves many individuals falling into a healthcare gap, where they might not qualify for private insurance or face challenges in affording adequate coverage. Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) play a pivotal role in bridging this gap. One such center, Central Florida Health Care (CFHC), operates as a safety net provider, delivering care to the uninsured, underinsured, and Medicaid patient populations, as explained by Ann Claussen, the organization's CEO.

Federally Qualified Health Centers Helped Tens Of Thousands

In 2022, CFHC served over 70,000 individuals from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds across 15 sites in Polk, Highlands, and Hardee counties. The center offers a range of services, including dental checkups, pharmacy needs, and specialized care.

With Florida's population continuing to grow, the demand for accessible and affordable healthcare is escalating. CFHC is actively working to meet this rising need by expanding its services and facilities. Plans entail establishing a new health center in Frostproof, Florida, where the organization originated in 1972, along with enhancing services in Winter Haven and Lakeland. In Davenport, CFHC has acquired additional space to offer specialized care.

Significant Financial Demand

However, these expansions come with significant financial demands, with each health center costing between $3 and $4 million to build. To finance these endeavors, CFHC has initiated a capital campaign, led by Chief Development Officer Senior King. The campaign aims to secure the necessary capital to expand operations in Lakeland and Winter Haven, with a commitment to addressing evolving community needs.

In the meantime, CFHC continues to extend its services to all individuals in need, regardless of their ability to pay. While not operating as a free clinic, CFHC assesses eligibility for Medicaid and other coverage options, providing a sliding fee scale for those lacking insurance.

As CFHC endeavors to fulfill its mission of providing quality healthcare to all, regardless of financial circumstances, they urge individuals requiring care to reach out and explore available options. With a steadfast commitment to inclusivity and accessibility, CFHC stands as a beacon of healthcare support in West Central Florida.

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