Primary Care for Underserved Populations: Navigating Policy to Incorporate Occupational Therapy Into Federally Qualified Health Centers

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Abstract

Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) provide low- or no-cost primary care to medically underserved populations such as homeless or low-income people, migrant workers, and members of marginalized cultural groups. Occupational therapy services have the potential to help improve the health and functioning of FQHC patients. Using a FQHC serving American Indian/Alaska Native populations as a case example, we describe how occupational therapy is well suited to help meet the needs of medically underserved populations. We then examine options for integrating occupational therapy into this unique primary care setting, discuss related administrative and policy considerations, and propose possible solutions to identified barriers.

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