Like many types of businesses, there are consultants and companies who offer services to health centers. Some consultants may try to convince health centers that they need an extra needs assessment: don’t fall for their scare tactics! The needs assessment that a FQHC completes for a Service Area Competition (SAC), New Access Point (NAP), Look-alike Designation, or Look-alike Recertification must meet the compliance requirements for a health center but the basic requirements under the new compliance guide are not new. As always, the needs assessment should assess the need for health services in the service area you intend to serve. The rest of your application must show how your health center’s services meet the health care needs of the population served or proposed to be served.
The Service Area Competition (SAC) program is a funding opportunity that provides three-year grants to operate one or more Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). FQHCs must submit applications for a SAC grant when the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) issues a SAC NOFO (Notice of Funding Opportunity).
Federal grants to support new health centers have been available every other year since President George W. Bush set a goal to create 10,000 new health centers in 2005. The Obama Administration continued funding “New Access Points” with stimulus funds and the Affordable Care Act. With uncertainty around federal funding priorities under the Trump Administration, your clinic might want to consider becoming a community health center under the Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) Look-alike program.