Recently, the US Department of Health and Human Services announced that $3.5 million in new funding for Massachusetts to improve access to health care in under-served areas, bringing primary care closer to home across the Commonwealth. The new funding will be used at six Community Health Centers serving residents of the South End and Mattapan neighborhoods of Boston, the cities of Quincy, Springfield, and Worcester, and the island of Martha’s Vineyard.
The grant funding comes from the Affordable Care Act, and is estimated to result in an additional 25,000 patients being served in high-need communities across Massachusetts. In Martha’s Vineyard, the grant will be used to establish a new federally-qualified health center to serve the entire island.
Here in Massachusetts, we’ve seen the real-world benefits that come with near-universal access to health care insurance coupled with the ability of residents to obtain high-quality, affordable care in their communities. In cities and towns across Massachusetts, Community Health Centers play an important role in delivering high-quality, affordable medical care and support services to some of our Commonwealth’s most vulnerable populations that improve health outcomes and eliminate health disparities. Community Health Centers can uniquely provide critical preventative care needed to identify health needs early, and design effective community-based interventions that curb the long-term cots of treatment. This means they can target preventative medicine and outreach toward community specific outcomes, leading to the improved collective health of communities at a faster rate, and far fewer in the emergency room.
Health Centers in Massachusetts have already received nearly $135 million in grants from the Affordable Care Act to better serve their communities including managing and reducing chronic disease, workforce development and incentive programs for high need areas. The Department of Public Health works closely with our partners at the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers and their member Community Health Centers in support of innovative programs, such as student loan repayment to new medical providers who commit to practicing in under-served communities, programs to reduce healthcare workforce shortages, and coordinating medical and dental services.