Community health centers across the nation, including the Cape and Martha’s Vineyard, kick off National Health Center Week August 13 – 19, 2017. The community-led health care movement started in Massachusetts 52 years ago with the founding of the nation’s first community health center.
As part of the week’s celebrations and events, the Cape and Vineyard Community Health Center network will be holding a legislative breakfast at Outer Cape Health Services’ new administrative offices in Harwich Port. Local legislators, health center staff and board members from the region will gather to share comments underscoring the 2017 National Health Center Week theme of “Celebrating America’s Health Centers: The Key to Healthier Communities”.
On the Cape and Islands, community health centers have provided a local source of quality health care, as far back as the 1960s. Today, community health centers continue as non-profit clinics located in medically underserved areas throughout the U.S., including the five federally qualified health centers of the Cape and Martha’s Vineyard: Community Health Center of Cape Cod; Duffy Health Center; Harbor Community Health Center-Hyannis and its Ellen Jones Community Dental Center-Harwich; Island Health Care of Martha’s Vineyard; and Outer Cape Health Services.
Last year, more than 50,000 individuals received direct patient services through some 200,000 visits at these Cape and Island community health centers. Nationally, community health centers serve 25 million Americans at more than 9,000 delivery sites in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and U.S. territories.
“Together, we share a common mission in making comprehensive primary care and behavioral health services accessible to anyone, regardless of insurance status, and from all walks of life,” according to Patricia Nadle, CEO of Outer Cape Health Services.
Collectively, the five regional community health centers employ more than 600 area residents as physicians, advanced practitioners, nurses, medical assistants, pharmacists, technicians, support staff, and others. All of the centers are governed by boards of directors whose members live and work in the communities they serve, and more than half of whom are consumers of their health center’s services.