becoming an FQHC look-alike

There are two types of Health Center Programs - funded (FQHCs) and unfunded FQHC look-alikes. Health Center Solutions recommends obtaining a look-alike designation first to position clients to be more competitive for future FQHC grant funding because look-alikes receive bonus points. 

Health Center Solution's primary focus is on Health Center Program compliance and program readiness for any clinics or health centers wanting to become a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), and developing applications to demonstrate eligibility. Obtaining federal funding or federal designation remains very competitive and our expertise creates a road map to confidently move through a successful application and submission process.

Applicants for look-alike status must be independently owned and operated nonprofits (with the exception of public agencies), be operational and providing comprehensive primary care at least 40 hours per week at a permanent service delivery site, and be fully compliant with the Health Center Program requirements at the time of application. 

Health Center Solutions will help you and your governing board achieve FQHC Look-alike designation through a 4-phase process. 

Phase I – Readiness Assessment and Roadmap Development

The process includes evaluating clinical, financial, administrative, and governance policy and structure, meeting with key stakeholders, defining your look-alike’s scope of project, and creating a road map to move your health center into 100% program compliance.  

Phase II – Implement Compliance Work Plan

We provide technical assistance needed to complete the roadmap which involves working with administration, operations, clinical and quality improvement staff.  Areas of focus include determining provision of required services, (directly, via contract, or via formal referral); board development and governance responsibilities; required policies and implementation. Health Center Solutions supports the development and implementation of required policies and procedures, including HRSA-compliant templates,  to ensure program compliance and reduce site visit findings. 

Phase III – Look-Alike Application/Submission

Developing a successful look-alike initial designation (LAL-ID) application is like piecing together an elaborate puzzle with moving parts. The process is tedious, tiring, and emotionally challenging. HRSA reviewers will scrutinize every aspect of the 200-page grant package. One missed compliance item, one unanswered question, or a misspoken term could result in a denial. HCS completes and reviews the application which includes the narrative, budget documents, multiple forms, and 20 attachments. There is no specific due date for a LAL-ID, but once the application is initiated in the HRSA grant portal, there are 90 days to submit. 

Phase IV – Site Visit Prep & Follow-up

Following the application submission, HRSA will conduct an on-site visit to assess your health center’s program compliance. Health Center Solutions assists your team prepare by doing a mock-site visit at your health center to identify any weaknesses and resolve compliance issues.

Our coaching provides your leadership team members, quality improvement staff, and board members a critical understanding of the process. We are in your court to keep your schedule on track, minimize surprises, and avoid site visit findings and unnecessary conditions on your designation.  You can count on our professional expertise to ensure you avoid pitfalls that could eat up time or jeopardize your success.

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