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Care for Community Health Centers

MassDevelopment Awards $273,488 in Grants to Six Community Health Centers for Facility Improvements, Equipment & COVID-19 Needs

April 27, 2021

Matthew Mogavero, 857-248-0868

Whittier Street Health Center in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood

BOSTON – MassDevelopment has awarded grants totaling $273,488 to six community health centers across Massachusetts through its Community Health Center Grant Program. The program offers grants of up to $50,000 each to fund capital improvement projects including construction, renovation, equipment, furniture, technology-related projects, and other facility needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Throughout this pandemic, community health centers have worked to ensure Massachusetts families and residents have access to quality affordable health care and other important social services,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, who serves as chair of MassDevelopment’s Board of Directors. “Thanks to the hard work of the frontline teams at these organizations, the Commonwealth has been able to expand our fight against the COVID-19 virus and reach the communities and neighborhoods that have been disproportionately impacted by this public health crisis.”

“Like few other institutions our community health centers have been there for us throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera. “For that reason we are thrilled to be able to grant them these much-needed dollars so they can conduct some self-care (advance projects, upgrade their facilities, buy equipment) to the buildings so many of us go to for health care.”

The Community Health Center Grant Program is funded by the MassDevelopment/HEFA Trust. MassDevelopment offers other financing options to community health centers, including tax-exempt bond financing and TechDollars, a loan program to help nonprofits purchase and install technology equipment.

The following organizations received Community Health Center Grant Program awards in FY21: 

DotHouse Health, Boston - $50,000
In operation for 126 years, DotHouse Health in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood provides comprehensive primary care services with adult, family, pediatrics, and women’s health departments that meet the diverse needs of every member of every family. The center also features on-site dental care, eye care, and behavioral health departments with staff that speak multiple languages. DotHouse will use grant funds to procure a freezer and refrigerator for COVID-19 vaccine storage and four electronic exam tables to support the delivery of care to patients with mobility issues. 

“Our Dorchester community has been hard hit not just with COVID-19 positive infections but also the economic impacts of the pandemic,” said DotHouse Health President and CEO Michelle Nadow. “The award from MassDevelopment enables DotHouse to offer regular vaccination clinics as well as upgraded equipment in our exam rooms. These investments will support increased access to safe, reliable and quality care." 

Whittier Street Health Center Committee, Inc., Boston - $50,000
Originally established in 1933 as a well-baby clinic, Whittier Street Health Center now offers high-quality and affordable health care and social services to diverse populations from its health facility in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood and satellite clinic in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood. The organization has developed programs and initiatives to address the health disparities, economic inequalities, and social injustices in the communities they serve. Whittier Street Health Center will use this grant to buy and convert a van into a second fully operational Mobile Health Van. Proceeds will also be used to buy equipment such as a mobile dental cart, mobile retinopathy equipment, and a visual field analyzer for eye exams. 

“Despite our best efforts to reach a hard-to-reach and transient population, social issues such as lack of transportation, homelessness and work schedules serve as barriers to care for the communities we serve,” said Whittier Street Health Center President and CEO Frederica Williams. “As part of our Boston Health Equity Program and as a trusted community partner, Whittier would like to expand its Mobile Health Van program to reach patients where they are and connect them to care. High quality and culturally sensitive outreach programs play a critical role in improving and extending the reach of healthcare and improving health outcomes.” 

Lowell Community Health Center, Inc., Lowell - $50,000
Lowell Community Health Center has served the communities of greater Lowell since 1970 by providing access to high-quality, affordable health care for children and adults of all ages. The center has grown to include many specialty services in addition to comprehensive primary health care, dental services, and eye care. Funds will support the health center’s transition to the 3CX Communications System. 3CX’s multichannel communication system offers a flexible platform that will enhance practice efficiencies and improve patient access, helping meet demand and evolve the organization’s patient facility with technology beyond the conventional phone call. This project is a partnership with the center’s technology partner, Rockport Technology Group.

“The 3CX Communications System advances the goals of our new telehealth hybrid care delivery and offers state-of-the-art cloud-based services that are cost-effective, easy to use, and offer the most flexibility for a variety of work environments,” said Lowell Community Health Center CEO Susan West Levine. “It is a significant investment in operations that we believe will best serve our diverse patient populations now and in the future. We are grateful to MassDevelopment for this generous support.”

Caring Health Center, Inc., Springfield - $50,000
Founded in 1995, Caring Health Center, Inc. (CHC) provides affordable, quality, and comprehensive health care across three sites to residents of the greater Springfield area. The organization employs more than 250 people and serves about 20,000 patients each year. CHC will use this grant to cover the costs of demolition and the removal of materials at its new Learning Institute. 

“As a federally qualified health center, CHC works to address chronic disease and other health concerns among Springfield’s residents,” said Caring Health Center President and CEO Tania M. Barber. “Given that low-income people are more likely to have chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma, and hypertension, we are equally concerned about the negative impact of poverty in the city. We believe that good-paying jobs provide the fastest way out of poverty. And we feel that high quality job training, targeted directly to low-income residents, offers an effective and sustainable strategy for addressing poverty – and health – in Springfield. Accordingly, we envision the Learning Institute as a place where residents will receive training to prepare them for employment, with an emphasis on employment in a range of health-related fields.”

Outer Cape Health Services, Wellfleet - $50,000
Founded in 1987, Outer Cape Health Services (OCHS) offers health care and supportive services to all who live in or visit the 10 outermost towns of Cape Cod. OCHS operates health centers and pharmacies in Harwich Port, Provincetown, and Wellfleet. Proceeds from this grant will allow the organization’s Wellfleet Community Health Center to expand its nearby pharmacy, add a drive-up window, reconfigure its floor plan to accommodate the changed workflow, add a patient consultation area, and replace the current roof.  
"The support of the MassDevelopment/HEFA Trust for our Wellfleet pharmacy project on the rural Outer Cape assures equitable access to our personalized patient services for decades to come," said Outer Cape Health Services CEO Patricia Nadle. "The elderly and lower income populations on the Outer Cape will especially be better served by the renovations and modern enhancements to this standalone pharmacy associated with our nearby Wellfleet Health Center – one of the first community health centers founded in the Commonwealth."

Family Health Center of Worcester, Inc., Worcester - $23,488
Established in 1972, Family Health Center of Worcester, Inc. is a full-service health center open to all residents of Worcester and surrounding areas. In addition to its main site at 26 Queen Street in Worcester, the center provides care at Family Health Center – Southbridge, eight school-based health centers located in Worcester and Webster, and Worcester Health Care for the Homeless, which now includes the Health Care for the Homeless Families program and the Homeless Outreach and Advocacy Program. The organization will use this grant to upgrade approximately 10 bathrooms, including two central/public restrooms located on the first floor and eight patient bathrooms in the center’s clinical areas. 

“We are extremely grateful to MassDevelopment for providing us with funding to upgrade our public restrooms,” said Family Health Center of Worcester, Inc. President and CEO Louis Brady. “This has been a particularly challenging time for our organization as we seek to meet the needs of our very vulnerable populations. This gift from MassDevelopment will allow Family Health Center to meet new infection control standards throughout our facility, enabling our health center to continue to safely serve our community during the COVID-19 pandemic while also allowing us to pivot operations to a new normal.”

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, banks, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2020, MassDevelopment financed or managed 341 projects generating investment of more than $2.69 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 10,871 jobs and build or preserve 1,787 housing units.