By Noah Mamo, Associate Chief of IT Operations

New patients are often surprised at some of the questions asked on Advantage’s registration forms. Homeless status? Family size and income? Sexual orientation and gender identity? They’re all there! For many, the question is “Why do they need to know that?” The answer takes a bit of explaining. As a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), Advantage receives federal funds to provide healthcare services to individuals regardless of their ability to pay. Those federal funds are awarded to Advantage by the Health Resource and Services Administration (HRSA). One of HRSA’s primary goals is to reduce disparities in health care. Often, disparities are identified via Social Determinants of Health (SDOH), which include things like homeless status, or socioeconomic status, or gender identity and sexual orientation. By identifying SDOH, Advantage can report them to HRSA and by compiling data from all health centers and other sources, HRSA can then begin to identify what groups of people may not be receiving the same level of health care as others, or are disproportionately affected by certain conditions or diseases, and then take steps to address those disparities. The goal is to provide high quality, accessible and affordable healthcare to all people. Advantage Health Centers is proud to be a part of the FQHC program, and proud of the role we play in reducing health disparities among different groups of people so that everyone can live their best life, regardless of who they are.