Cape Cod Times: New primary care, walk-in health office added in Centerville

February 11, 2019

The below article was written by Cynthia McCormick of the Cape Cod Times.

Community Health Center of Cape Cod patient Rob Caggiula, of Mashpee, right, checks into the front desk with Fernanda Nogueira, who works in patient services. Community Health Center opened a new branch Jan. 31 in Centerville. [Merrily Cassidy Photos/Cape Cod Times]

CENTERVILLE — The Cape’s nonprofit community health centers continue to grow, with the Mashpee-based Community Health Center of Cape Cod recently opening a fourth location in Centerville.

Located at 1185B Falmouth Road, the Centerville office offers primary care and walk-in service from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

Walk-in services in Centerville are available to the general public, not just the health center’s registered patients, said Christopher Ellis, who is director of organizational advancement. The Centerville office held a grand opening Jan. 31.

The health center plans to add two dental chairs to the Centerville location later this year, making dentistry available at all of its locations including Bourne, Falmouth and Mashpee, Ellis said.

The health center got its start 21 years ago as the Falmouth Free Clinic, with a volunteer staff dedicated to serving people who didn’t have insurance.

Ten years later a 10,000-square-foot office opened in Mashpee and in 2012 another 22,000 square feet was added.

Now serving more than 17,000 patients, the health center has an annual budget of of $18 million for 2019, Ellis said.

Last year, 13 percent of the operating revenue came from state and federal grants and 10 percent from philanthropy, he said.

Revenue from patient services came to 77 percent, Ellis said.

The 3,000-square-foot Centerville renovation cost $690,000 and is being funded mainly by philanthropy, said Karen Gardner, CEO of the organization.

The new location was opened to help serve the community health center’s 2,300 patients from Barnstable, Ellis said.

“The addition of a Community Health Center of Cape Cod office in Centerville will allow us to expand access to care for our patients and the community as a whole,” Gardner wrote in an email.

Of the health center’s patients, 41 percent are on MassHealth, 23 percent are on Medicare, five percent have no insurance and the rest receive coverage either through Connector Care or private insurance, Ellis said.

“We continue to see increased demand for integrated care services, and we want to be able to meet those demands with convenient and accessible services where our patients live and work,” she said.

Over the years, the Center has added services such as pharmacy, optometry and behavioral health.

“I think they’re fantastic. They’re very caring,” said Rob Caggiula of Mashpee, who went Tuesday to the Centerville office.

A regular patient, Caggiula, who owns a landscaping business, said the Centerville office was able to take him as a walk-in on a slow day for his business.

A community health center typically is located in or serves an area that is considered medically underserved, is governed by a community boards, provides comprehensive primary health care and other services, and provides services to all based on ability to pay.

On Cape Cod, Community Health Center of Cape Cod is not the only community health center expanding services.

The Duffy Health Center in Hyannis, which serves 3,200 people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, moved into its new building in 2011 and recently completed a $500,000 renovation, said Duffy CEO Heidi Romans Nelson.

Outer Cape Health Services closed a clinic in South Harwich and opened an expanded clinic in Harwich Port in December, said Outer Cape spokesman Gerry Desautels.

The Wellfleet center is closed for renovations that will expand its footprint by 50 percent when it reopens, which is expected to be in June, Desautels said.

Outer Cape Health Services sees 17,000 patients annually, Desautels said. He estimated it has 300 new patients since opening the Harwich Port clinic and has expanded its service area to include Dennis and Yarmouth in addition to the eight easternmost towns on Cape Cod.

Outer Cape Health Services had operated a dental service out of its Provincetown office, but last year the nonprofit signed an agreement with Harbor Health Services, which has a clinic in Hyannis, to run the dental program, Desautels said.

Harbor Health Services opened its Hyannis clinic in 2003 and provides medical, dental, and behavioral healthcare, said Ami Bowen, the agency’s director of community relations.

“We are looking to offer more patients recovery services in Hyannis,” Bowen said in an email. “We are also looking to expand our dental care at our Ellen Jones Dental Health Center in Harwich and are currently looking for a potential new site.”

Harbor Health has 13,400 patients in Hyannis and Harwich, Bowen said.