The Community Health Center Difference

Community Health Centers

Progressive Community Health Centers is one of five Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) serving the greater Milwaukee area. Also known as a Community Health Center, FQHCs are public, non-profit 501(c)(3) corporations that deliver primary medical, dental, and mental health services in high need areas.

The federal government requires that Community Health Centers:

  • Be located in a Medically Underserved Area
  • Offer a sliding fee scale and provide services regardless of ability to pay
  • Have a board of directors, with over 50% of its members being patients of the health center

Community Health Centers provide key services (or referrals for):

  • Primary care—family medicine & internal medicine
  • Women’s health & family planning
  • Laboratory & radiology services
  • Chronic disease management
  • Dental care
  • Children’s care
  • Mental health and substance abuse
  • Case management & social work
  • Translation & interpretation

To learn more about Community Health Centers, visit the National Association of Community Health Centers or the Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association.


Community Health Centers (CHC) began offering services in Wisconsin in the 1970’s. Today, the state’s 18 CHCs operate over 90 sites, serving nearly 300,000 patients annually. Nationally, there are more than 1,300 Community Health Centers providing health care to roughly 29 million people each year.

Progressive Community Health Centers was founded in 1999 as Westside Healthcare Association. In 2000, the organization was awarded its first grant from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, earning the official designation as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). Initially, the agency’s Lisbon Avenue Health Center was staffed by contracted physicians from the Medical College of Wisconsin.  In 2003, Progressive CHC added dental facilities to the Lisbon clinic and further expanded the second floor to offer pediatric services. In 2006, the organization opened its second clinic, the Hillside Family Health Center, located within a resource facility operated by the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee.

More recent accomplishments have sparked tremendous growth for Progressive CHC, including the opening of the agency’s new Lisbon Avenue Health Center in early 2015. The 42,000 square foot facility is nearly five times larger than previous space, enabling the organization to dramatically increase capacity in primary care, women’s health and dental. The building also houses a community health education center, an integrated behavioral health program, diagnostic radiology services and room for future growth in specialty care access.

In May 2016, Progressive CHC further expanded its reach by unveiling an innovative service delivery model in partnership with Aurora Sinai Medical Center. Located on the Aurora Sinai campus, 12th Street Urgent Care is uniquely designed to address immediate patient needs, reduce inappropriate usage of the emergency room and connect individuals with a primary care medical home.

Progressive CHC employs more than 130 people at three clinic sites and served nearly 15,000 patients annually.