About Us

What is a Federally Qualified Health Center?

Community Health Centers are community-based providers of comprehensive primary and preventative health care and enabling services to medically underserved populations. Many also offer comprehensive dental care and mental health services.

Health Centers is an all-encompassing term for a diverse range of public and nonprofit organizations and programs. Many receive federal funding under section 330 of the Public Health Service Act (Consolidated Health Center Program) and may also be called Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC).

Health Centers focus on improving individual patient health and improving the health status of the entire community. Needs assessment, program development and evaluation are all framed in terms of both community health needs and patient health.

Southern Missouri Community Health Center is a FTCA deemed facility. Malpractice coverage is provided under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).


In the spring of 2001, community members of Howell and Oregon counties came together in a series of community meetings hosted by the Missouri Primary Care Association (MPCA) to discuss access to care issues in their region. As a result, a committee was formed with the intent to pursue section 330 funding to create a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in West Plains, Missouri.

In February 2003, Southern Missouri Community Health Center Medical Clinic opened its doors. In July 2004, the SMCHC Dental Clinic opened and in March 2005, mental health services began.

In April 2006, SMCHC opened Oregon County Community Health Center in Thayer, Missouri, offering primary care, medication assistance and mental health services.

SMCHC moved to 1137 Independence Drive in August 2006. The 14,000 square foot building is the current location of SMCHC’s medical, mental health and dental services.

In 2011 we changed Oregon County Community Health Center in Thayer, MO name to Southern Missouri Community Health Center to share the name of the West Plains clinic.

SMCHC accepts most private insurances, Medicaid and Medicare. A sliding fee program is available for patients who qualify financially based on federal poverty levels and family size. Medication assistance is also available for those who qualify.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Rural Alliance for Better Family Health is to provide access to quality, affordable medical, dental and mental health care.