March 3, 2021

Cascadia Awarded Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) Look-Alike Status, Allowing for Expansion of Whole Health Care Services

This month, Cascadia was awarded Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) Look-Alike status by the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA). FQHCs are community-based health care providers that meet the requirements of the HRSA Health Center Program.

FQHCs were established to maximize access to care for medically underserved populations and communities. Look-Alikes meet all Health Center Program requirements, provide comprehensive primary care services to address identified health needs, and ensure services are available to all persons regardless of ability to pay.

Providing primary care alongside mental health and behavioral health services has been a long-term commitment and focus of Cascadia.  In 2012, Cascadia was awarded a four-year grant from U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and partnered with Outside In to provide mobile health care to homeless community members. This led to Cascadia being selected as one of Oregon’s Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers (CCBHC) in 2017. Cascadia’s status as a CCBHC qualified the organization for FQHC Look-Alike Status, allowing for further expansion of primary care services.

Cascadia sought the FQHC Look-Alike designation in order to improve the health outcomes of the populations Cascadia serves that are often chronically marginalized by traditional healthcare settings due to their complex mental health needs. Cascadia has found that the delivery of primary care by trusted clinicians can be transformative to the health and wellbeing of those we serve.

As an FQHC Look-Alike, Cascadia aims to address health disparities among those we serve through the delivery of whole health care at our Garlington and Woodland Park Health Centers. This includes integrating trauma-informed primary care into our existing array of mental health, addiction, wellness, and permanent affordable housing programs.

Cascadia will expand access to primary care by hiring additional providers and serving more patients in these high-need neighborhood, as well as increase medical outreach to high-risk populations including individuals experiencing homelessness, severe and persistent mental illness, and substance use challenges. Specific offerings may include:

  • Extended hours and weekend hours
  • Specialty care such as pediatric, gynecology, etc.
  • Care for diabetes and other chronic health conditions
  • Expanded access to medications
  • Expanded distribution for COVID-19 vaccines
  • Medical urgent and emergent services

“Our primary goal at Cascadia is to ensure everyone in our community – regardless of ability to pay – has access to the health care resources they need,” said Derald Walker, Cascadia’s President and CEO. “In achieving FQHC Look-Alike status, we’ll have the necessary support to not only continue serving people in need, but to be able to expand access to primary care services historically underserved individuals. This is an exciting development will help us create healthier, stronger communities.”