FACHC requests Medicaid reimbursement rate increase for Florida community health centers


Shane Ersland


The Florida Association of Community Health Centers (FACHC) is requesting a Medicaid reimbursement rate increase for the state’s federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) to cover the actual cost of care for patients.

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With Florida lawmakers in the midst of their 2024 legislative session, FACHC is requesting that they approve its request for a rate increase to address the 42 percent shortfall FQHCs face for every Medicaid patient visit. It’s a request that has not been made by the association in more than two decades, FACHC President and CEO Jonathan Chapman told State of Reform.

“FACHC has not requested an increase since the rates were first developed over 20 years ago,” Chapman said. “Thus far, legislators have been supportive in acknowledging community health centers’ work and service to their patients and communities, and the need for additional funding in order to sustain, if not increase, these operations.”

Community health centers provide essential primary care services—including preventive care, chronic disease management, and behavioral health services—in Florida communities, Chapman said. They also serve as a critical safety net for vulnerable populations. Unfortunately, the current Medicaid payment rates do not adequately support them, resulting in many centers cutting back on services or limiting the number of patients they can serve.

“We are calling on state lawmakers to increase Medicaid prospective payment rates to ensure these providers’ continued sustainability, so all Floridians have access to the healthcare they need.”

— Chapman

The state’s ongoing process to conduct Medicaid redeterminations has left nearly one million Floridians uninsured, and the FQHC reimbursement gap causes an even greater strain on the resources they need to provide high-quality care.

Florida’s FQHCs include 54 community health centers with more than 800 locations that provide primary and preventative care services to 1.8 million patients annually. In 2023, they served more than 627,800 children, 14,400 veterans, and 77,500 patients who did not have stable housing, with more than 87 percent of their patients living below the federal poverty line.

FACHC is also advocating for the legislature’s Live Healthy package, which was passed by the Senate in January and now awaits votes in the House.

“Among the [Live Healthy] initiatives are hospitals (collaborating) with health centers to ensure patients have access to and receive appropriate primary and preventive care, rather than delay basic care until a crisis presents, requiring more expensive emergency room services,” Chapman said. “And [it includes] the expansion of teaching health centers, and residency slots that would enable additional medical education opportunities for various specialties throughout the state.”

FACHC is also advocating for House Bill 1173 and its counterpart, Senate Bill 1254, which would create a new licensed dental provider position called a dental therapist.

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