Minnesota Community Care, the largest federally qualified health center (FQHC) in Minnesota, has been a safety-net health care provider for historically marginalized and underserved communities since 1969. Our mission “to strengthen the well-being of our community through health care for all” is inspired by a living history rooted in the push for health equity and the fight for the fundamental human right of access to health care for all. To impact health disparities, we focus on the incredibly complex and substantial barriers our communities face to leading health lives; we serve people throughout their lives and across generations; and we make our communities stronger in the process.
As a community health center, our service delivery sites are located within the communities we serve: in addition to three ambulatory care clinics (La Clinica, East Side Clinic, Downtown Clinic) and a freestanding dental clinic (West Side Dental), we operate 10 school-based clinics co-located in St. Paul Public Schools middle and high schools (Health Start), a co-located Public Housing Primary Care clinic (McDonough Homes Clinic), a shelter-based clinic at Union Gospel Mission, and a Health Care for the Homeless program. Our partnerships in these locations span 50 years of dedicated service and adaptation to the needs of those we collectively serve.
With an annual operating budget of $38 million, 370 employees, and over 100,000 square feet of service delivery space, we provide primary, specialty, behavioral/mental health, and oral health care, and enabling/supportive services to over 38,000 unduplicated individuals through 140,000 patient encounters annually in our service area (UDS, 2019).
Over our 50-year history, we have adapted and expanded our programs and services in response to the community’s need for accessible and affordable health care: we initiated our Health Care for the Homeless program in 1987, launched our HouseCalls homeless prevention program in partnership with Ramsey County in 1992, opened a Public Housing Primary Care clinic in partnership with the St. Paul Public Housing Agency in 1993, started delivering Ryan White-funded HIV primary care services in 2000, opened onsite 340B pharmacies in 2002 (La Clinica) and 2008 (East Side Clinic), and acquired Health Start SBHCs in 2003. Over the years, our response to community need has also included establishing dental services (1978), opening an expanded dental clinic (West Side Dental Clinic, 2001), and extending dental services to the East Side (2013) and Downtown (2020) neighborhoods of St. Paul.
Notably, Minnesota Community Care’s network of 10 Health Start school-based health centers operating in SY2019-20 grew out of the singular Maternal and Infant Cares Clinic co-located in St. Paul Mechanic Arts High School; opened by Ramsey Hospital in 1972, this clinic was the genesis of school-based health in Minnesota. Between 1970 and 1973, we served approximately 112 students per year at this site. Over 45 years later, we serve over 5,000 students annually through over 15,000 office visits and 20,000 classroom and community-based interactions within St. Paul Public Schools.