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Federally Qualified Community Health Clinic Look-Alike Development

Activity Through September 2007

RMH and JMU, in collaboration with the Healthy Community Council, are providing support to the development of a Federally Qualified Community Health Center (FQHC) in Harrisonburg–Rockingham County. The mission of the FQHC is to provide affordable, accessible primary care for all persons regardless of their ability to pay. 

Technical Assistance--Christopher Nye and David Cockley of the Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services at JMU have been retained to address a number of deliverables associated with the health center start-up and subsequent application for Federally Qualified Health Center–Look-Alike status. Additional technical assistance is being provided by Dr. Dale Carroll of RMH, Lori Robertson of RMH, Merrily McGowan, and John Taylor of Valley Health Plan.

RMH–Rockingham Memorial Hospital has offered partial start-up funding to assist the Center.

Virginia Health Care Foundation--David Cockley and Christopher Nye submitted a grant application of $125,000 to the Virginia Health Care Foundation to support staffing of the Center. 

Articles of Incorporation--Articles of Incorporation as the Harrisonburg Community Health Center, Inc. have been overseen by John Taylor of Valley Health Plan and submitted by the law firm of Wharton, Aldhizer and Weaver. The incorporated name may not necessarily be the formal name of the center. A Tax ID# has also been issued.

IRS Non-Profit Organization Application--This document was submitted the last week in September.

Board of Directors--The board of directors held its first meeting on September 25. There are currently eight members of the board, 51% of whom will use the clinic. Officers were also chosen.

Business Plan--Lori Robertson of RMH is developing a Business Plan for the Center under the guidance of John Taylor of Valley Health Plan.

Facility--Short-term options are being investigated in order to support a January 2008 start-up. The initial site is projected to be the office that will be vacated by Dr. Shafqat at 1951 Evelyn Byrd Avenue Suite I. Long-term options are also being explored in order to support the comprehensive vision of the center and the resource it can provide across multiple disciplines and programmatic activities.

Clinical Staffing--Interviews have begun for clinic staff. A pediatrician and family practitioner have been interviewed. Each candidate has been approached regarding a January 2008 start date. There will be interviews of nurse practitioners as well as physicians. The profile of the clinical staff is near finalization and is projected to include pediatric care provided by a board-certified pediatrician while adult care will be provided by Family Nurse Practitioners.

Co-Location with Free Clinic--There have been lengthy discussions with the Free Clinic regarding sharing of space. Scenarios included short-term (less than one year) and long-term (up to one year) sharing of space. Discussion also included levels of melding the operations of both initiatives. The Free Clinic decided that it was currently not feasible to enter into any co-location or service melding of the initiatives. This decision was made in part, as a result of projecting greater space need for the CHC by the end of 12 months. However, the Free Clinic and the Center have agreed in principle to cooperate closely whenever appropriate so that community resources are maximized to the benefit of vulnerable populations. The process for reaching this decision was very collegial, thorough and deliberative.

The most important operational distinction between the Free Clinic and the Harrisonburg Community Health Center is that the Free Clinic serves only the working uninsured, while the Center will see clients with or without insurance coverage as well as those who are uninsured. The Center will charge patients according to a sliding scale of fees based on the client’s income.

Virginia Community Healthcare Association--The Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services at JMU has joined the VACHA on behalf of the community. VACHA is the association of Virginia FQHCs and provides technical assistance and group purchasing options.

Please contact Christopher Nye (nyecb@jmu.edu), Dr. David Cockley (cocklede@jmu.edu), Dr. Dale Carroll (dcarroll@rhcc.com) or John Taylor (jtaylor@valleyhealth.com) with questions.