A ‘topping-off’ event in Mattapan Square

Sharon T. Callender, Special to the Reporter
Aug. 11, 2011

According to data from the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), health centers have been serving as health care homes for more than 40 years, providing continuous primary and preventive care that reduces the risk of new health care problems and lowers the overall potential cost of health care.

Health centers are expanding to reach more people by removing geographic, language, and cultural barriers for patients who do not have a usual source of care. The emphasis this year on a health care home recognizes the importance of the health center mission: to provide a health care home to all Americans in need.

Currently health centers serve nearly 23 million patients nationally, while continuing to provide high quality, cost effective, accessible care as America’s health care home.

Mattapan Community Health Center has been the “Health Care Home” for 39 years for many community residents. MCHC’s commitment to the mission of improving the quality of life for residents of Mattapan and surrounding communities remains steadfast and serves as a guide as we continually provide optimum primary and preventive health care services.

Our new center is slated to be open in late summer of 2012. Next Wednesday (Aug. 17), the “Topping Off Ceremony” will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 1575 Blue Hill Ave. The community is invited to take part in this ceremonial event as the last steel beam is signed, lifted, and placed in the building.

Mattapan Community Health Center is proud to be a provider of health care to more than 7,000 patients through some 28,000 visits annually. Your health is important to us. Please call for an appointment at 617-296-0061 and make us “Your Health Care Home.”

Did You Know That …

• Community health centers are local, non-profit, community-owned health care providers serving low income and medically underserved communities? For over 40 years, the national network of health centers has provided high quality, affordable primary care and preventive services, and, often, on-site dental, pharmaceutical, mental health, and substance abuse services.

• Federally-Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) are located in areas where care is needed but scarce, and they improve access to care for millions of Americans regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay? Their costs of care rank among the lowest, and they reduce the need for more expensive in-patient and specialty care, saving billions of dollars for taxpayers. Currently, over 1,200 community, migrant, and homeless health centers deliver care through over 8,000 service delivery sites in every state and territory.

• Health centers serve as the medical home and family physician to more than 23 million people nationally – a number that is quickly growing? Health center patients are among the nation’s most vulnerable populations – people who, even if insured, would nonetheless remain isolated from traditional forms of medical care because of where they live, who they are, the language they speak, and their higher levels of complex health care needs. As a result, patients are disproportionately low income, uninsured or publicly insured, and minority.

• About half of health center patients reside in rural areas, while the other half tend to live in economically depressed inner city communities?

• Health centers remove common barriers to care by serving communities who otherwise confront financial, geographic, language, cultural and other barriers, making them different from most private, office-based physicians?

• They are located in high-need areas identified by the federal government as having elevated poverty, higher than average infant mortality, and where few physicians practice; are open to all residents, regardless of insurance status, and provide free or reduced cost care based on ability to pay; offer services that help their patients access health care, such as transportation, translation, case management, health education, and home visitation; and tailor their services to fit the special needs and priorities of their communities, and provide services in a linguistically and culturally appropriate setting.

• Overall, health centers do make a difference – by improving the quality of life through: supportive access to primary and preventive care; providing cost-effective high quality care; reducing health disparities by the effective management of chronic disease; improving birth outcomes and creating jobs that stimulate economic growth.

Mattapan Community Health Center continues to address the health care needs of its patients and the community with the construction of a new community health center building at 1575 Blue Hill Ave. in the heart of Mattapan Square. This state of the art facility will bring needed resources to the community and additional health services such as on-site mammography and behavioral health counseling and support.