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From Apache Wiki <>
Subject [Gump Wiki] Update of "Globe+Correspondent" by StefanBodewig
Date Mon, 10 Sep 2007 15:53:10 GMT
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The following page has been changed by StefanBodewig:

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- But community health centers draw patients for a number of reasons. They offer "one-stop
shopping," which can include dental care, substance abuse treatment, 
- pediatric and prenatal care, and social services. Most have child care and translators on
site for non-English speakers.
- With the new Massachusetts health insurance law boosting the number of patients seeking
care, community health centers south of Boston are scrambling to meet 
- the demand.
- Sign up for: Globe Headlines e-mail | Breaking News Alerts Manet Community Health Center,
which has four locations in Quincy and one in Hull, is hiring two 
- new family care physicians and a nurse practitioner. Brockton Neighborhood Health Center
now stays open two hours later on weeknights. In February, it hired 
- a nurse practitioner, two medical assistants, and two social workers, and is planning to
hire 20 more staff members in the next six months.
- "We've seen a really significant increase in visits by new patients," said Sue Joss, executive
director of the Brockton health center. "Our phones are 
- ringing off the hook for new patients."
- The two centers are the only ones directly south of Boston. But community health centers
in Fall River and New Bedford, which also serve people from this 
- region, are experiencing the same increase in demand, and expanding hours to meet it.
- The state's universal health insurance law, which is being rolled out this year, is bringing
formerly uninsured people into the healthcare system. Many of 
- these individuals and families are turning to community health centers, the locally based
nonprofit organizations that arose from the antipoverty movement of 
- the 1960s.
- "We are front and center in the new healthcare legislation," said Kerin O'Toole, spokeswoman
for the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers. "We've 
- seen quite a surge in demand. Although in many cases patients could go elsewhere, the health
centers offer a whole range of services you can't get from a 
- private provider."
- The nation's first community health center opened at Columbia Point in Dorchester in 1965
as part of President Johnson's war on poverty.
- Similar centers, supported by federal aid and private grants, opened across the country
in poor and medically underserved areas. Today, the United States has 
- more than a thousand centers, 52 of them in Massachusetts.
- Business is thriving. In April, the Brockton center on Main Street saw a 12 percent spike
in patient visits over last year, and in May, a 9 percent increase. 
- A new $16 million center is under construction next to the cramped downtown facility and
is scheduled to open in November.
- Statewide, patient loads at community health centers have been on the rise. In 2006, centers
in Massachusetts saw 760,301 patients, an increase of nearly 
- 94,000, or 14 percent, over the previous year.
- The surge in demand at community health centers with the new law was not fully expected.
The centers have long been a safety net in the healthcare system - 
- places where people could go whether they had insurance or not. The insured usually have
many choices when seeking care
- Sign up for: Globe Headlines e-mail | Breaking News Alerts "People are more aware of the
community health centers and the services we provide," said Sheryl 
- Turgeon, chief executive officer of Healthfirst, which draws patients from Fall River and
nearby towns.
- Community health centers also do outreach for Commonwealth Care, the new state health insurance
program, and visitors to most centers can sign up for health 
- insurance on the spot.
- The heavy promotions the state has been doing to get the uninsured to sign up and take advantage
of healthcare also seems to be a factor in the increasing 
- number of visits, according to Toni McGuire, chief executive officer of the Manet center.
- "I think one of the biggest reasons for the increase is the advertising around Commonwealth
Care," McGuire said. Said Joss of the Brockton center, "There was 
- never this kind of publicity around the free-care pool."
- In the past, institutions that treated the uninsured were compensated by a pool of money
administered by the state and paid into by hospitals and other large 
- providers.
- Another reason that community health centers are seeing more patients is that three of the
four insurers working with Commonwealth Care tend to direct 
- subscribers to the centers, according to Alan Sager, director of the health reform program
at Boston University School of Public Health.
- Sager said he is concerned that some community health centers may not be able to hire physicians
quickly enough to meet the demand.
- "If health centers were deluged by dozens more patients every day, how quickly could they
respond?" he asked.
- A Massachusetts Medical Society report issued last month warned of a growing shortage of
primary care physicians and some specialists, based on surveys of 
- doctors and Massachusetts residents.
- "The community health centers rely heavily on primary care physicians, and if there is a
shortage in the state, the centers would be exposed to that 
- shortage," said B. Dale Magee, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society.
- So far, directors of centers south of Boston say they have been able to hire qualified staff
and otherwise meet the demands of new patients - in part by 
- expansion.
- The Manet center recently purchased the building it had been renting in North Quincy and
is eyeing expansion on the site. The center also opened a clinic at 
- Quincy Medical Center.
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- The Greater New Bedford center recently expanded its downtown facility, more than doubling
its square footage. Brockton's new facility will approximately 
- double its patient capacity.
- "We're taking a pretty aggressive stance as we get ready to move into the new building,"
said Joss. "It seems right now the demand will be there."

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