Northwest Regional Primary Care Association (NWRPCA) is a non-profit 501(c) 3 membership association that works to ensure equal access, regardless of one's financial or insurance status, to primary and preventive health care for all residents living in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
NWRPCA leverages its regional power to support and advocate for community health centers (CHCs) at the national level, and to provide training and workforce development support, helping CHCs to become model professional homes to their staff and board members.
For more about us, view our Association Profile and Strategic Vision.
Community Health Centers: the heart of our story
Health centers offer a safety net for the community's most vulnerable residents while providing a quality of care equal to or better than national standards. They are federally supported non-profit or public corporations that offer comprehensive primary and preventive healthcare and enabling services to their communities. Health centers must be located in medically underserved communities and not restrict their services based on financial or insurance status. CHCs are also unique in that they are governed by a board of directors made up mostly (at least 51%) by patients/consumers. Health centers emerged from the Civil Rights activism of the 1960s and 1970s and were initially federally funded as part of the War on Poverty.
The Need Continues
In 2012 Northwest community health centers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska provided care to 1.4 million individuals. Of these individuals, 92 percent were at or below 200 percent of the poverty level and 67 percent were at or below 100 percent of the poverty level. CHCs provide primary care to all, regardless of ability to pay, and must, by definition, offer a sliding scale of fee discounts to accommodate all. Community health centers serve some of our most vulnerable populations. More than 115,000 individuals served in 2012 identified themselves as homeless; 24,328 reported being veterans; and 5,202 lived in public housing. Thirty percent of those served were children under the age of 18, and 47 percent identified as racial or ethnic minorities.
Uniquely Positioned to Serve their Communities
Born of the civil rights movement as “community centers," FQHCs are uniquely positioned to provide accessible and culturally competent care to special populations. In addition to providing primary health care, community health centers provide patient support including: case management services; patient assistance to gain financial support for health and social services; referrals to other providers, including substance abuse and mental health services; services that enable patients to access health center services such as outreach, transportation and language interpretation; and education regarding the availability and appropriate use of the community's health services.
The Role of NWRPCA in the CHC World
The voting members of NWRPCA are Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), and the board of directors is drawn from those voting members. FQHCs comprise 80% of the NWRPCA membership. The other 20% of members include other safety net clinics, individuals, non-profits and even for-profit corporations, all of whom share the mission and vision stated above. NWRPCA offers its services to any Federally Qualified Health Center in our four-state area, regardless of membership status.