In the State of New Jersey, Community Health Centers are the major providers of comprehensive primary health care. Community Health Centers are often referred to as federally qualified health centers or “FQHCs” and are funded and qualified by the federal government, specifically Sections 330/329 of the United States Public Health Service Act.

Community Health Centers were started in 1965 in Massachusetts and Mississippi as a way of providing healthcare to those who did not have access to healthcare or were not able to afford it. The mission of the Community Health Center has always been to be part of the community, providing care within the community as a contributing member while serving as a good neighbor.

In New Jersey, that mission still continues today. There are 23 Community Health Centers and 138 satellite sites in communities across the state provide care in neighborhoods, schools, and homeless shelters throughout New Jersey, including Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Sussex, Union, and Warren counties. These neighborhood Community Health Centers continue to provide much-needed care to the most impoverished citizens in the state. Although the services of each Community Health Center vary in size and composition, each Center is tailored to the physical, psychosocial, nutritional, and health education needs of their communities, their neighborhoods.

All FQHCs are staffed with qualified Board-certified or Board-eligible physicians representing a broad array of medical specialties and are subject to stringent federal regulations in all operational areas. Most FQHCs are located in high-density, urban areas and in rural areas with a large, diverse base of ethnic and minority residents.

Approximately 1,900,000 patient visits are made annually to New Jersey’s FQHCs by over half a million users. Typical services include internal medicine, obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, geriatrics, medical and surgical subspecialties, laboratory, podiatry, pharmacy, x-ray, dental, and mental health services.


Characteristics of Community Health Centers are particularly unique in design with innovative characteristics that distinguish FQHCs from other health care providers or entities including:

  • Governance by users of FQHCs and by local professionals.
  • Locations in underserved neighborhoods with clinic hours that include nights and weekends.
  • Utilization of National Health Service Corps physicians who are devoted on a full-time basis to the
  • Multilingual staff.
  • Ability to provide multiple sites and even mobile clinics and services for rural populations.
  • Commitment to offering a wide array of medical and supportive services.
  • Provision of care at costs which are substantially lower than at other settings; sliding fee scales.
  • Reduction of overall health care costs as an effective alternative to emergency room utilization.
  • Physician admitting privileges in local hospitals to provide 24-hour care to patients.
  • Networking with community-based human service organizations to provide a continuum of care.
  • Programs are based on the life-cycle concept, which gives particular emphasis to maternal and child
    health and seeks to provide quality care for people from prenatal care to old age.


Click here for a handy brochure about Community Health Centers/Federally Qualified Health Centers.


Click here to find a Community Health Center near you.


For additional policy information about Federally Qualified Health Centers in New Jersey, please click here.