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The below article was written by Cynthia McCormick of the 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.
Community Health Center of Cape Cod hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its new Centerville office, located at 1185B Falmouth Road, on January 31. There was a great turnout of Board Members, donors, patients, staff, volunteers and community partners to officially open the new office. Community Health Center of Cape Cod Chief Executive Officer Karen Gardner welcomed the crowd and provided information about the Health Center’s expansion and Massachusetts State Representative Will Crocker also made remarks about the importance of health centers on the Cape. All of the guests at the ribbon cutting were able to tour the new office and meet the Centerville staff.
“Cutting the ribbon today at our Centerville office is our first step in providing access to affordable health care to even more Cape Cod residents,” Gardner said. “Over the last twenty years, we have seen tremendous patient growth and recognized a need for a location on the mid-Cape to keep up with the demand for health care services. Now that our new Centerville office is officially open, we look forward to offering high-quality, affordable, integrated health care closer to our patients and to the community as a whole.”
Community Health Center of Cape Cod’s Centerville office currently offers primary and walk-in care services, and dental services will be offered later this year. The office is open Monday through Thursday from 8:00 to 6:00 p.m. No appointment is necessary to utilize walk-in services for treatment and care of minor injuries and illnesses, and services are open to the public, regardless of if you are a patient at the Health Center.
For more information about Community Health Center of Cape Cod, please visit www.chcofcapecod.org or call (508) 477-7090.
If you have had close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or longer) with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you should be tested 4 days after exposure to reduce the chance of a false negative test. Per CDC guidelines, you should self-isolate for 10 days after the exposure, even if you test negative for COVID-19. Community Health Center of Cape Cod offers COVID-19 testing for symptomatic and asymptomatic registered patients, and for unregistered asymptomatic patients. If you are having difficulty breathing or tightness in your chest, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
For more information and updates on Community Health Center’s guidelines and response to COVID-19 please click here.
If you have any questions, or would like additional information, please call (508) 477-7090 or visit www.chcofcapecod.org.
America’s Federally Qualified Community Health Centers owe our existence to a series of events in U.S. history, and to a number of dedicated public health and civil rights activists who fought more than 50 years ago to improve the lives of Americans living in poverty and in desperate need of high quality, affordable health care.
The integrated, community-based model of care that emerged through the efforts our founders Jack Geiger, MD, Count Gibson, MD and John Hatch, PhD continues to serve as the foundation and reminder of the importance of our work and that which still lies ahead in improving health within our communities, as well as the social barriers that still exist and impact the lives of the most vulnerable.
In the words of Dr. Geiger, “A community health center can serve as an agent of social change, intervening not only in the social determinants of our population’s health, but also launching a process of structural change that starts to liberate the population through community empowerment from repetitive cycles of poverty and political exclusion.”
Community Health Center of Cape Cod stands with the community we serve in creating an environment free of racial injustice, intolerance and discrimination. We remain steadfast to our mission and serving as champions for the establishment of safe, healthy and inclusive environments for all.
|Karen L. Gardner|
Chief Executive Officer
|David V. Peterson, Jr.|
President, Board of Directors
COVID-19 testing is available at the Health Center’s Mashpee office. If you would like to be tested, please call us at 508-477-7090 during business hours and press 2. Let the operator know you are calling to be connected to our COVID-19 team.
We know that the situation regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus) continues to evolve rapidly. Community Health Center of Cape Cod is monitoring the virus with the latest guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide updated information to our patients as it becomes available. The best way to avoid getting sick, and to avoid spreading a virus is to wash your hands often, avoid people who are sick and stay home if you are sick.
If you have a fever over 102 degrees that won’t respond to over the counter fever reducers and one of the following, please call 911:
Virtual Visits at CHC:
Community Health Center of Cape Cod is prepared to meet the health care needs of their patients during the rapidly changing COVID-19 environment by offering expanded telehealth appointments, also known as virtual visits. Virtual visits may be accomplished through a more detailed phone call or through a video conferencing application within the patient’s electronic health record. In accordance with the latest guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Health Center encourages patients to call prior to visiting CHC of Cape Cod. Many health conditions may be addressed virtually, reducing the risk of community exposure to COVID-19. To see a demonstration of the virtual visits and for additional information on how to access them, please click here.
If you are scheduled for elective surgery, we recommend you contact your surgeon’s office for information.
For questions about your upcoming appointments or to find out if a virtual visits would be appropriate for you, please call us at 508-477-7090 during business hours and press 2 to be connected to Patient Engagement. Let them know you are a high risk patient for COVID-19 and you would like information about virtual visits or to postpone a preventive visit.
If you have any questions, you can call the Health Center at (508) 477-7090.
Community Health Center of Cape Cod is prepared to meet the health care needs of our patients during the rapidly changing COVID-19 environment by offering expanded telehealth appointments, also known as virtual visits. Virtual visits may be accomplished through a more detailed phone call or through our video conferencing application within our patient’s electronic health record. In accordance with the latest guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we encourage patients to call prior to visiting the Health Center. Many health conditions may be addressed virtually, reducing the risk of community exposure to COVID-19.
For individuals who have a computer or tablet with an internet connection or a smartphone, they will be able to check-in for your virtual visit using the MyChart patient portal and can launch a video conference through this service. Not all services can be offered virtually, but a virtual visit can be appropriate for some preventive care, follow-up, behavioral health and chronic disease management visits.
To learn more about virtual visits at the Health Center, please call (508) 477-7090 to be connected to the Patient Engagement team. If you believe you are experiencing symptoms (fever, shortness of breath, cough) or have reason to believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19, please let our team know upon calling. Health Center patients may also message their health care provider through the MyChart patient portal. For additional information from Community Health Center of Cape Cod, and their efforts surrounding COVID-19, visit www.chcofcapecod.org/coronavirus.
To see a demonstration of the virtual visits and for additional information on how to access them, please click here.
We know that the current situation regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus) continues to evolve rapidly. Community Health Center of Cape Cod is monitoring the situation with the latest guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide updated information to our patients as it becomes available.
If you have any questions, you can call the Health Center at (508) 477-7090.
Mashpee – Community Health Center of Cape Cod has been recognized as a 2019 Health Center Quality Leader by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)’s Bureau of Primary Healthcare. The Health Center has received recognition for ranking among the top 10% of health centers nationally for clinical quality – the first time in the organization’s history that they have received this honor.
This recognition by HRSA was for numerous quality improvement achievements in 2019. In addition to the top 10% Quality Leader recognition for clinical quality measures, Community Health Center of Cape Cod was recognized in a number of subcategories of the Improving Quality of Care Awards. These categories are Clinical Quality Improvers, demonstrating at least 15% improvement on a clinical quality measure; Advancing Health Information Technology (HIT) for Quality Award, for utilizing five HIT services and/or telehealth services to increase access to care and advance quality of care; and Patient Centered Medical Home Recognition, for having patient centered medical home recognition (PCMH) in one or more delivery sites. The Health Center is honored to be recognized by HRSA as a health center leader in these categories and will continue to work on quality improvement efforts to provide the best care possible for the community. The Health Center has offices in Mashpee, Falmouth, Bourne and Centerville, and provides integrated care services for anyone in the community who needs it, regardless of ability to pay.
Community Health Center of Cape Cod is excited to welcome Dr. Thomas Andrea OD, FAAO as Director of Optometry Services. Dr. Andrea, a resident of Sandwich, most recently served as an Assistant Clinical Professor at the New England School of Optometry and as an Attending Optometrist at the Lynn Community Health Center.
Dr. Andrea received his Doctor of Optometry (OD) from the New England College of Optometry (NECO) in Boston and completed his residency in Ocular Disease and Primary Care at VA Boston Healthcare System in Brockton, MA. He continues to serve as the Director of the NECO Alumni Association and is a member of the American Optometric Association and the Massachusetts Society of Optometrists. He received his Fellowship with the American Academy of Optometry at the most recent meeting in November of 2018. Dr. Andrea is accepting new patients ages 6 and up and has an interest in caring for patients with systemic and ocular diseases, such as diabetes, macular degeneration and co-managing glaucoma. Community Health Center of Cape Cod offers optometry services at their Mashpee office located at 107 Commercial Street, and has recently increased its optometry services with the addition of teleretinal cameras at its Falmouth and Bourne offices. The optometry office in Mashpee will also be expanded soon, and these latest developments will allow for improved eye care and overall health for a broader spectrum of patients in the community