The Open Forum: An Open Cities Newsletter – January 2021

Wishing you and yours a Happy New Year, filled with health, happiness, peace, love, and community.

A Brief Look at FQHCs

Open Cities is proud to be a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) serving the communities of Saint Paul, Ramsey County, and beyond. As a New Year dawns, we wanted to present a brief look at the history of FQHCs and our role as a health care safety net. 

The inception of FQHCs was born out of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty Act and creation of the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO). In 1965, Dr. Jack Geiger and Dr. Count Gibson, Jr. brought the idea for ‘Neighborhood Health Centers’ to the OEO. In June of that year, the first two neighborhood health centers were established in Boston and rural Mississippi. Soon after, more health centers were established and funded through the OEO, being specifically located in areas with high concentrations of poverty. Their original purpose remains the same today – to provide access to quality healthcare for under-served populations, regardless of their ability to pay. Health centers so significantly improved the outcomes for impoverished communities that they continued to be recognized and funded in part by government dollars. In 1989, Congress developed an official Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement category called “Federally Qualified Health Centers”, a designation given to all community health centers that met the legal requirements and received grant funding from the federal government under Section 330 of the Public Health Services Act.

Here are a few attributes which make FQHC institutions stand apart from standard healthcare systems.

  • Patient-majority governing board – ensuring the decision making is truly patient driven. The board should also be representative of individuals being served by the clinic in term of race, ethnicity, and sex.
  • Systems of patient-centered and integrated care that respond to the unique needs of diverse medically under-served areas and populations.
  • Supportive services such as insurance navigation, translation, health education, and other wrap around care i.e. referral to housing programs, food shelves, and transportation.
  • Care regardless of the patient’s ability to pay by applying a sliding fee scale.

In addition to some of the unique features of FQHCs, there are helpful benefits that patients have access to such as: 

Federally Qualified Health Centers make a difference in our communities at large, improving quality of life for some of the most vulnerable and at-risk. According to the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), nearly 1 in 11 people in the United States rely on FQHCs for their essential health needs. This means better patient outcomes for patients managing chronic conditions like hypertension & diabetes,  improving birth outcomes for communities of color who are hit hardest by maternal and infant mortality disparities, and responding to public health priorities such as the opioid crisis and COVID-19, and reducing health care costs for America’s taxpayers

Community Resources

The MN Black Community COVID-19 Hotline.

The hotline is fully staffed and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide callers with important info about where to find assistance for pandemic-related challenges and concerns.

To get your COVID-19 questions and concerns answered today, call the hotline at 612-254-1145.

Recurring Events

Virtual Nu’DIVA Drop In

Nubian Moms and DIVA Moms (MCC) join forces to host their virtual Nu’DIVA Drop In, every 3rd Thursday of the month, 6-7pm to discuss topics relevant to mothers of color ranging from baby safety to trauma affecting the womb. Are you an expectant mom, have a new baby, or know someone that may be interested in this support circle? Reach out to Nubian Moms at 651-291-9258.

Ramsey County Public Health: Birth Equity Council Presents
Advocacy 101 (Policy Building Community Capacity)   
 Jan. 13th, 2021 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Register here.

For those that currently support the work of Open Cities with a recurring gift​, please accept our deepest gratitude​. Never has your donation been more vital in ensuring we can carry out our mission each and every day. We truly appreciate your commitment to the clinic and​, most importantly​, to the patients that we serve!

Connecting with our patients and meeting the needs of our community is at the core of everything thing we do here. Whether we are helping someone grieve the loss of a loved one, providing chiropractic care​ ​after an accident, or ​ensuring high-risk women have healthy babies​, ​we will continue to be nimble and flexible in our approach – while maintaining safety as a priority. The community’s response to our COVID-19 drive-up testing clinic and telehealth services has been significant. We are on the front lines everyday​, doing work that has a tangible impact.

If you have not joined our recurring giving program, Givers with a Heart​, ​please consider taking that step today! Every giving level has a few tokens of gratitude from us at Open Cities. They are also a way for you to proudly display your support of Community Health Centers! Pick your giving level by looking at the tiers below.

Thank you for joining forces with us! The future looks a little brighter with you on our side.

Recurring Donor Levels

ALLY: $5 monthly gift:
Pen, Sticker, Impact Packet

SUPPORTER: $10 monthly gift:
Pen, Sticker, Impact Packet, Magnet

FRIEND: $25 monthly gift:
Pen, Sticker, Impact Packet, Magnet, Mug

ADVOCATE: $50 monthly gift:
Pen, Sticker, Impact Packet, Magnet, Mug, Tote bag

CHAMPION: $100 monthly gift:
Pen, Sticker, Impact Packet, Magnet, Mug, Backpack


Doug Jaeger, Administrative Consultant


Brian Moore, Lab Manager 

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