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Local community health centers receive grants

June 21, 2013
By G. Michael Dobbs


CHICOPEE — Community health centers (CHC) in Chicopee, Holyoke and Springfield received grants from the Neighborhood Health Plan and Partners HealthCare that will assist them in improving necessary record reporting systems.

Holyoke Health Center and Chicopee Health Centers received $75,000 to upgrade its health information technology reporting. Caring Health center in Springfield received $75,000 and Health Services for the Homeless received $30,000. Both organizations will use the funding to enhance their health information technology in order to qualify for federal financial incentives.

Baystate Health's Brightwood and Mason Square Neighborhood Health Centers received a total of $20,000, which will be used to train its clinical and billing staff on new medial coding protocols.

Anne Awad, the CEO of Caring Health Center, admitted the grants were not "glamorous," but explained will help CHCs meet federal regulations.

Dr. Jacqueline Spain, the medical director of Holyoke Health Center, said that improved medical reporting and records can allow a medical team to see what kind of services a patient requires besides just what an appointment is for.

The grants were announced at press event at the Chicopee Health Center on June 14. Deborah Enos, president and CEO of the Neighborhood Health Plan, explained the grants were part of on new effort to help fund the Commonwealth's 49 CHCs.

She said the improvements in medical reporting system as funded by the grants will "improve patient experience and continuity and quality of care."

James Hunt, president and CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community health centers, said one out of eight residents in the state have a CHC as their primary health care provider.

He said that CHC have become "the place of choice rather than the place of last resort."

Dr. Gary Gottlieb, president and CEO of partners HealthCare, said that over the next 15 years $90 million is anticipated to be invested in the state's CHC system.

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