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New designation will open up additional access for patients and provide increased funding opportunities for the organization

BUFFALO, NY— Today Evergreen Health announced it has been designated as a Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike (FQHCLAL) by the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA). The new status as a FQHCLAL will provide long-term organizational stability and open up more access for patients. Evergreen joins three other FQHCs in Buffalo and received Look-Alike status, which means the organization met all of HRSA’s compliance requirements, but will not receive Health Center Program funding.

“About two years ago our Executive Team agreed to take the next big step for our organization,” said Michael Lee, chief operating officer, Evergreen Health. “The past two years have been spent doing a lot of behind the scenes work to become compliant with HRSA regulations so we could officially apply to become a FQHCLAL. I’m extremely proud that this day has arrived for our organization.”

Evergreen’s decision to pursue becoming a FQHCLAL began two years ago after looking at data relevant to its service area, which has a total population of 591,505 and is defined by 27 zip codes located in Erie County and primarily in the City of Buffalo. While services are available for all residents, Evergreen’s priority population is the service area’s low income population, which includes 218,265 individuals. Currently, 25.06% of low income residents are being served by existing health centers, leaving more than 160,000 low income people whose health care needs are not being met.

“Once we looked at the data we knew we needed to do more,” said Ray Ganoe, president and CEO of Evergreen Health. “Evergreen Health’s mission is to foster healthy communities by providing medical, supportive and behavioral services to individuals and families who are living with chronic illness or who are underserved by the healthcare system. Becoming a FCHCLAL aligned with our mission and was a no brainer. This new designation will allow us to expand services and serve more patients, especially those who experience some of the largest barriers to accessing healthcare.”

Evergreen has five locations that are within its FCHCLAL scope of services:

  • Elmwood Ave. (service delivery/administrative site)
  • Bailey Ave. (service delivery site)
  • Mathews Building (service delivery/administrative site)
  • Evergreen Commons (administrative-only site)
  • Watkins Building (administrative-only site)

A health center’s scope of services is the approved service sites, services, providers, service area(s), and target populations(s).

Benefits to being a FQHCLAL include greater access to 340B discounts and greater flexibility in spending 340B revenue. Other benefits include increased Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements and access to providers through the National Health Service Corps.

Evergreen officially submitted its application to HRSA on February 21, 2020 and throughout the Covid-19 pandemic kept its timeline on track. It was one of the first organizations to conduct a virtual site visit with HRSA, one of the last critical steps in the multi-year process.

“To accomplish this goal amidst a public health crisis without missing a beat is remarkable, said Ray Ganoe, president and CEO, Evergreen Health. “It’s a testament to the perseverance of our employees and the high level of care they have for the patients we serve.”

Federally Qualified Health Centers are community-based healthcare providers that receive federal funds from HRSA to provide primary health care services to underserved populations. They accept patients regardless of their ability to pay (offering a Sliding Fee Scale to patients with annual incomes at or below 200% FPG), and work to address healthcare disparities and barriers to accessing care. They must meet a stringent set of requirements, and operate under a governing board that includes patients.

Evergreen Health fosters healthy communities by providing medical, supportive and behavioral services to individuals and families in Western New York – especially those who are living with chronic illness or who are underserved by the healthcare system.