The community health clinics in Washington State comprise a network of community and migrant health centers, public hospital-affiliated clinics, and local public health jurisdictions. These entities arrange and provide services to low-income and special populations. Special target populations eligible to receive clinic services include migrant farm workers, minority populations, people with HIV/AIDS, people with developmental disabilities, substance abusers, mental health consumers, homeless and the elderly.
The majority of patients using the clinics are recipients of public health insurance; most pay for it using the sliding scale. Physicians, physicians' assistants, advanced registered nurse practitioners, and dentists provide direct clinical services such as periodic screenings, well child care, family planning, high risk obstetrical deliveries, acute-episodic medical care, emergency/after hours medical services, and management of chronic medical problems.
Community health clinics are funded from primarily from Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance. Federal, state, and local governmental agency grants also contributes to the clinics' funding stream. The Community Health Services, housed in the Washington State Health Care Authority, provides over $6 million annually to fund 31 clinics throughout the state. The agency also provides technical assistance, consultation, education and training to the clinics. Moreover, it aims to serve as a liaison between the clinics and other state agencies.116