There’s a subset of healthcare providers that flies under the radar for most of the general public: those community-based clinics that qualify as Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC). These centers receive funding from the federal Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) to provide care in medically underserved areas and to vulnerable populations such as residents of public housing, homeless shelters, senior citizens, veterans and migrant workers.
As part of their mission, such “patient-directed” centers provide culturally competent, high-quality care that considers the whole patient and is “respectful of, and responsive to, individual patient preferences, needs and values.” Typically they provide sliding fee scales for the uninsured and often offer supportive services such as health education.
The Floating Hospital is one of them. Receiving its status in 2002.
“You have to have a solid commitment to providing community-based healthcare with a focus on populations that are truly underserved and find a way to serve them,” says Floating Hospital President Sean Granahan.
For us, that population is the “hidden homeless”— families living in shelters, domestic violence safe houses, or doubled up with family and friends. It’s a population that has gone unnoticed, yet number approximately 50,000 families in the New York City area. Granahan says the keen focus on families harkens back to the organization’s 19th-century mission of “serving, as we’ve always done, the poorest populations in the city.”