Community Health Centers:

Hospitals Can Become Centers Under Certain Conditions

HRD-91-77FS: Published: Mar 22, 1991. Publicly Released: Apr 5, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on whether: (1) there were statutory or regulatory requirements that affect hospital conversions to community health centers (CHC); and (2) CHC received Bureau of Health Care Delivery and Assistance (BHCDA) funds to buy or rent hospital facilities to maintain needed services that would be lost when area hospitals closed.

GAO found that: (1) CHC program legal and regulatory requirements did not prohibit converting a hospital to CHC; (2) to qualify for CHC funds, the converted hospital must be located in a medically underserved population, have a governing board comprised of community representatives, and be less expensive for use as CHC than other facilities; (3) there were no instances in which BHCDA approved funds to convert a hospital to a CHC; (4) BHCDA reported that it did not provide grants for hospital conversions because it lacked funds to support construction and procurement of hospitals or other facilities; (5) at least two community health centers, with BHCDA approval, acquired and renovated space in closed hospitals to expand their service areas; and (6) the costs of the hospital conversions were funded by state and local governments.

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