Defend Your FQHC Territories

Things to Know About Service Area Competition 2022
How Digital Outreach Helps Improve Low Patient Metrics.

With our experience in FQHC, we have noticed a trend in the rise of organizations intending to become FQHCs. Many of these firms are engaging in FQHC-like planning, among other options.

Can Another Organization Steal Our Grant?

Yes. An organization can access Section 330 funds to be an FQHC by either:

· Applying for SAC (Service Area Competition): They can do so wherever there is a NOFO (Notice of Funding Opportunity.

· Organizations can become FQHC if they apply for a New Access Point. An organization can do so if there is a Funding Opportunity Announcement.

If you are an existing FQHC, you can reapply for your funding whenever the HRSA (Human Resource and Services Administration) issues a SAC NOFO for your service area. Of significance, never take this for granted since your neighboring organizations may succeed in their application. Subsequently, there will be a transfer of your grant to the new FQHC upstart. SAC applications are announced throughout the year, stay up to to date through the HRSA website!

Who is the Application for?

The funding is for any public or nonprofit agency that applies for funding. Although an FQHC is a good funding source, it may slowly lead community partners into stiff competition. Therefore, FQHC should not turn a blind eye to this threat.

What are the Three Most Effective Ways of Protecting Your FQHC Funding?

After being aware of the potential of losing your FQHC funding, I am sure you are considering how to secure it, right? Here are three proofed ways to secure your funding:

Be Compliant Always

To secure your FQHC funding, comply with policies and ensure you are up-to-date on new laws and policies. Regardless of changes in patient care or new pandemics such as covid 19, never compromise policy compliance.

Meet SACs Needs

Current strategic plans and a needs assessment are mandatory. Unfortunately, many organizations do a community needs assessment quickly and carelessly, which gives a wrong impression. To protect your funding, do a comprehensive assessment and know where you are strong and vulnerable.

Ensure Technical Accuracy

Before submitting a proposal, ensure it has the correct font and type, page number, and margin size. Note that any of these can disqualify you. Also, you can only get a chance to reapply if you are the only applicant; otherwise, you will lose if there are other applicants.

Tips to Protect Your FQHC’s Service Are

Here are the steps to protect your FQHC’s service area:

  • Do comprehensive research on how to service your territory with a SAC Grant
  • Collaborate with community partners, and local FQHC’s, to enhance collaborations across your community
  • Outline strategies to safeguard your clinic from competition
  • Leverage digital marketing to maintain and grow your customer base
  • Expand your facility’s footprints to other regions
  • Participate in community activities like immunization, health awareness, and other preventive, promotive and rehabilitative activities.

Using Outreach Services to Meet HRSA’s Target Patient Count

Healthcare consumption is dynamic and has changed healthcare professionals’ approach to service delivery. Like other industries, consumers expect healthcare workers to advance digitally and innovate.

Online healthcare outreach should be a comprehensive strategic plan focused on connecting with your service area, bringing them in as new patients, and guiding them through their healthcare journey for years to come.

You must be very strategic to succeed in online outreach services in the healthcare industry. Otherwise, the return on new clients won’t be worth your investment and ultimately your community will be the one that suffers. Here are a few ideas online outreach strategies to increase your facility’s reach in your service area.

First and Foremost, Know Needs and Your Target Audience!

Start with these 2 questions:

  1. Where do we need new patients?
  2. What does our current patient base look like?

So, what are the best segments to start with? We find that focusing on laser focusing your targeting in your services area, adopting a well-built new movers’ campaign, and looking to your current patient base for referrals is the best place to start.

  1. Current patients can be an amazing source of referrals. If you have happy patients outreach to them informing them of your various practice areas and focal points and the fact that your providers are taking new patients, chances are they know someone looking for a new primary care physician, perhaps a provider that accepts Medicare, or any other enabling services that position your clinic as a great solution.
  2. Service area targeting somehow gets overlooked even in well-built outreach and marketing teams. Focus on enlightening your marketing teams with your HRSA data to truly understand what your patient breakdown looks like. This will give them an easier path to determining who to target and where.
  3. New mover campaigns are relatively straight-forward if you have the experience. When a person moves into your service area there are easy ways to target that individual online to let them know you are “a quality healthcare provider right around the corner” or an “affordable health clinic right in their backyard”. The key here is not to forget the initial targeting layer from section 2 above when targeting new movers.

We know you have heard this a million times, but you may be surprised to know even some our most successful clients started by using blunt outreach tactics to broad spectrum service area audiences where they knew had some potential new patients.

They never thought to narrow their targeting to just those patients that are truly ready to hear from them. What we like to ensure first is that we are laser focused on providing an equitable outreach plan that targets the patients as individually as we can while maintaining the best practices in privacy & security.

Build a Recognizable Brand

We won’t go in depth on this section, but know that the most effective and fastest growing FQHCs have a strong brand. FQHCs in general have a strong mission and this demonstrates to your community what your brand is all about. Use this mission and the purpose of community-based health centers to fuel your brand and let your community know how you can help.

Do a Thorough Online Patient Experience Evaluation

Some years ago, having a website was enough to wow prospective clients and aid them in finding your brand and identity. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case today, as consumer engagement is now complex and patients are being targeted by dozens of systems giving them plenty of options.

A website is just a front door. For it to be of more use, it also needs the following:

  • Accessible and accurate contact information
  • Quality Content Available
  • Online Booking or Online “Request an Appt” · Virtual Health Screening Tools – Depression Tests, Risk Assessments, and more · Don’t forget about an ADA Compliance solution on your website. We always recommend Accessibe.

Although the look of a website look is important, how patients interact with it is more critical. The easier it is for them, the easier they convert.

Educating Prospective Clients with Content & Quality Lead Generators

They don’t know what they don’t know, so it’s our responsibility to make sure we provide your target audience with information that enables them to make healthier options that lead to your services. Education is essential to raising your target audience’s health consciousness. We offer a variety of content solutions that make it easy on your team to have high producing blogs or landing pages that provide information on everything from your core practice areas, enabling services, and special events you have coming up.

What are virtual health screening tools? 


On of the more powerful tools we use here at Target Continuum are Virtual health screening tools. These tools are online surveys style experiences that allow patients to self-assess whether they should visit a physician or not. There are dozens of different topics they cover such as online depression tests, obesity management needs assessment, heart disease risk assessments and so much more. You can find an example here: Example Depression Screening Tool

What Outreach Channels work best?

There are dozens of channels to choose from when crafting your outreach strategy. These strategies are all approved as allowable uses of funds for FQHCs to use to increase their patient metrics.

  • PPC (Search) Ads – These ads are displayed when a user searches for information related to pandemics. This is when a potential patient is at their most interested in you! They can be targeted based on age, gender, location, income, and so much more!
  • Display Ads – Display ads are typically seen on websites and social media pages where they can be targeted based on demographics such as age, gender, and location. These ads are designed to start the conversation.
  • Remarketing – Remarketing when done in accordance to HIPAA guidelines can be one if not the most valuable tool in your outreach tool belt. This strategy gives you the ability to retarget users based on their interests, needs, or past web history giving you the ability to share with them your solutions where and when they need it. 
  • Social Media – Social media (Organic and Paid) has been a great way to spread information about your healthcare services. You can use your social media handles to provide important information about what patients should do when they get sick or are in need of healthcare services. 
  • Connected TV Ads- Connected TV ads is our fastest growing channel for FQHCs and is a great way to reach people who are home and have time to watch TV. You can target these ads based on age and location to show them to the people who will benefit most from them. 
  • Content writing- Good content is the best way to get people’s attention. You can create blog posts, infographics, and other forms of content to help you reach a wider audience and keep them coming back for more. Content marketing is also great because it enables you to build trust with your audience so they know they can trust your brand when they need medical advice online or offline. 
  • Web development- You can build a website optimized for search engine optimization (SEO) and social media. This will help you get more traffic to your site, which makes it easier for people to find the information they need when they have medical questions. This typically require more expert assistance to truly get right, but its’ not a challenge that an in house hire or outsourced option cannot easily solve.
  • Traditional Advertising & Grassroots Marketing – Billboards, Radio, and Grassroots is not dead, it just takes a lot of budget or staff time to accomplish. These channels are also very hard to track. Job fairs, flyers, hosted events are great ways to get your clinic some attention. We never recommend riding yourself of channels that are working, but when starting a new strategy its best to focus on digital as 90+% of your patient base has access to the internet and this can lead to a far more fiscally responsible, efficient, and successful outreach campaign.

That was a lot of information…. Where Can You Get Help?

After seeing how simple it is to lose funding, I am sure you want to do something to ensure you secure it. Don’t be worried; suppose you have any queries about the SAC application or anything around it, we can help. Our team is packed with former FQHC CEOs, Grant Writers, Outreach Specialists, and Niche Consultants with decades of experience and understanding of every challenge you may face.

Whether you need assistance on your application, your outreach plan to boost patient metrics, or consultants who can help guide your team, Please reach out to our team and we will steer you in the right direction!

For more information please review our webinar: Click here to watch Service Area Competition Webinar

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