The “Community Health Centre (CHC)” is a model of care that can take a variety of formal names depending on the jurisdiction in which it is situated. According to the International Federation of Community Health Centres, the following characteristics are fundamental and define the model of care known as the “Community Health Centre”. This list defines minimum criteria, but in certain jurisdictions additional criteria may be in place:
Community Health Centres deliver integrated, comprehensive, people-centered primary health care, through an interprofessional team that addresses aspects of both health and wellbeing.
Clinical primary care services at Community Health Centres address aspects of health promotion and illness prevention, as well as curative care and rehabilitation.
The Community Health Centres integrate, into their daily activities, attention to the broader causes of illness (the social determinants of health) addressing them through intersectoral services and cooperation.
Community Health Centres develop a community-oriented primary care strategy, blending skills for individual health care with approaches focused on public health
Community Health Centres have a commitment to equity and social inclusion and put emphasis on access to health care (with special attention given to the most vulnerable).
Community Health Centres place a strong emphasis on community engagement and civic participation in health and health care, which often includes participation of clients/patients and other community members in governance of the healthcare organization.
Community Health Centres contribute to universal health services coverage and are strongly committed to being accessible for individuals and families, irrespective of race, religion, social status and other factors, including ability to pay for care.
Community Health Centres engage in processes of continuous quality improvement, starting from the needs of the individuals and patients that they are serving.
Community Health Centres take responsibility for a defined population that can be geographically-determined or defined by population group(s).