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MassDevelopment Awards $509,336 to Help 11 Community Health Centers Complete Facility Improvements

June 18, 2019


Kelsey Schiller, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2011 & 617-694-9695 (cell)

MassDevelopment has provided grants totaling $509,336 to 11 community health centers across the Commonwealth through the Agency’s Community Health Center Grants Program, which will help these organizations complete capital improvement projects. The program offers grants of up to $50,000 each for projects ranging from installing upgraded security equipment to adding exam rooms for increased patient capacity.

“Healthy economies depend on healthy communities, and the community health centers receiving funding this year are on the ground in cities and towns across the Commonwealth providing quality, affordable health care and serving as an essential part of Massachusetts’ health care system,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “MassDevelopment is proud to provide these important institutions with the resources they need to upgrade and improve their facilities.”

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 institutions received MassDevelopment grants in 2019:

Brockton Neighborhood Health Center, Brockton - $50,000
Brockton Neighborhood Health Center (BNHC) is a multicultural organization that collaborates with community agencies and residents to provide high-quality, comprehensive health care that is responsive to community health needs and accessible to all, regardless of language, culture, or financial means. In an effort to increase capacity to its eye services department, BNHC plans to convert an existing office into an additional vision exam room, using grant funds to buy and install new equipment and fit out the space with plumbing, electrical, and other contractor services.

“This grant will enable BNHC to increase its capacity in eye services by at least 1,000 additional vision visits per year and 12.5% overall,” said Brockton Neighborhood Health Center CEO Sue Joss. “Thanks to MassDevelopment, we will be able to reduce our current wait time for a vision appointment from two to four weeks to less than one.”

Codman Square Health Center, Inc., Boston - $50,000
Founded in 1979 in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, Codman Square Health Center offers a wide variety of clinical, public health, and community programs. Using grant funds, the organization will buy equipment needed for an Access Control Base System at its primary clinic at 637 Washington Street, which will enhance campus security and reduce the number of security incidents through proactive prevention and deterrence methods. The system will also help facilitate smooth operations and cross-department coordination between security, risk management, facilities, and IT, and improve management of devices and assets.

“This grant will enable us to better safeguard our patients and staff so that we can focus on providing care and being a resource to our community,” said Codman Square Health Center CEO Sandra Cotterell. “That safety and improved efficiency is vital to the delivery of care, and we are grateful for the generosity of MassDevelopment.”

Community Health Connections, Inc., Fitchburg - $50,000
Community Health Connections (CHC) operates four health centers throughout north-central Massachusetts, providing primary medical care, dental care, oral surgery, behavioral health, psychiatry, optometry, podiatry, acupuncture, substance use disorder treatment, and insurance enrollment assistance. To improve patient access, the organization will use this $50,000 grant to build a centralized call center in the basement of its Fitchburg Community Health Center, which will house seven employees that will answer incoming patient phone calls related to scheduling and referrals.

“Community Health Connections is proud to serve those in our community in need of health care and pride ourselves on providing the highest-quality care,” said Community Health Connections President and CEO John DeMalia. “We are grateful to MassDevelopment for recognizing our contribution to the community and for their continued support to make that possible.”

Greater New Bedford Community Health Center, New Bedford - $50,000
A health care provider in southeastern Massachusetts since 1981, the Greater New Bedford Community Health Center (GNBCHC) offers clinical care, pharmacy services, community food banks, and more. GNBCHC will use grant funds to replace its undersized emergency generator with a new specially engineered, commercial-grade rooftop emergency generator that will accommodate the center’s need for climate-controlled vaccination and medication storage during power outages as well as IT server backup systems.

“The Greater New Bedford Community Health Center is very grateful to MassDevelopment for their support of community health centers through this grant program,” said Greater New Bedford Community Health Center President and CEO Cheryl Bartlett. “The GNBCHC serves 25% of the population in New Bedford and having adequate back-up generator power will ensure that we can maintain our back-up capacity for our IT system and medication storage units.”

HealthFirst Family Care Center, Inc., Fall River - $25,412
HealthFirst Family Care Center has a proud history of providing adult and pediatric primary care services that include medical, oral health, social services, and limited medical specialty services to underserved and uninsured residents of the Greater Fall River area for more than four decades. HealthFirst will use this grant to upgrade its security system with a newer IP-based surveillance model that will allow center staff to monitor the entire building with internal and external cameras and greater storage capacity for footage.

“We were excited to learn that our outdated security system will finally receive an upgrade thanks to the funding awarded from MassDevelopment,” said Myrtise Kretsedemas, Public Health Consultant for HealthFirst Family Care Center. “HealthFirst strives to provide a secure environment for its patients and staff and now we will be better equipped to do so.”

Hilltown Community Health Centers, Inc., Worthington - $45,035
Hilltown Community Health Centers, Inc. (HCHC) is the only health care organization located in the Hilltowns, providing medical, dental, behavioral health, optometry, and community services at five sites: Worthington Health Center, Huntington Health Center, Amherst Health Center, a school-based health center at Gateway Regional School, and the Hilltown Community Center. HCHC will use this grant to purchase equipment to improve the operation, flow, productivity, and safety of its dental department at the Worthington Health Center. Specifically, HCHC will purchase new X-ray arms for two of its dental machines, lighting equipment, and a digital panoramic X-ray.

“We are so grateful for funding from MassDevelopment which will enable us to upgrade the dental suite in HCHC's Worthington Health Center,” said Eliza Lake, CEO of Hilltown Community Health Centers. “The Worthington dental suite is the oldest in its three health center sites; the ability to purchase a digital panoramic X-ray machine and upgrade two of our dental operatories will make a huge difference in HCHC’s ability to provide our Hilltown populations with essential, high-quality dental care services.”

Manet Community Health Center, Inc., North Quincy - $42,702.50
Founded in 1979, Manet Community Health Center operates five locations in Quincy, Hull, and Taunton with a mission to provide unfettered access to high-quality, comprehensive, affordable, and culturally and linguistically responsive primary and preventative health care and services for all. Manet Community Health Center will use grant funds to buy and install security equipment at its North Quincy and Taunton locations.

“Providing a safe and secure environment for our patients and staff is paramount to our work here at Manet,” says Cynthia Sierra, CEO of Manet Community Health Center. “Maintaining a safe and secure physical environment not only reflects our compassion and vigilance for patient safety, it provides peace of mind and enables our staff to deliver the highest-quality patient care.”

North End Waterfront Health, Boston - $49,507.50
Founded in 1971, North End Waterfront Health (NEW Health) provides primary care, mental health, dental, and specialty services to the residents of Boston’s North End and waterfront. NEW Health will use this grant to expand its vision services at the organization’s satellite office in Charlestown by purchasing two pieces of equipment – the Ophthalmic Coherence Tomography (OCT) system and an iCare intraocular handheld device – and by renovating its facility in order to implement this new equipment.

“We are excited and thankful to be receiving this grant funding for our facility,” said North End Waterfront Health CEO Jim Luisi. “With this money, we’ll be able to renovate our vision services space and offer our patients better care with state-of-the-art equipment.”

South End Community Health Center, Inc., Boston - $50,000
South End Community Health Center (SECHC) is a nonprofit health care organization for residents of Boston’s South End and surrounding communities. The Center has a mission to provide high-quality, culturally sensitive, coordinated health care and social services to every patient, regardless of the ability to pay. SECHC will use grant funds to buy medical equipment for its Eye Clinic to help screen for and diagnose eye conditions like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration.

"South End Community Health Center is grateful to MassDevelopment for its generous support that allowed us to purchase the much-needed retinal camera, tonometer and topographer for our Eye Clinic,” said William Walczak, CEO of the South End Community Health Center. “This equipment enables SECHC to provide the highest standard of care to all of our Eye Clinic patients and will be of critical importance to the early detection and treatment of eye conditions."

MGH Charlestown HealthCare Center, Charlestown - $46,679
MGH Charlestown HealthCare Center has provided primary health care and specialty services to families from the Charlestown community for more than 50 years. The organization is currently collaborating with another community health center, North End Waterfront Health (NEW Health), on an initiative to provide social, medical, and behavioral health services to community members affected by the opioid crisis. MGH Charlestown will use grant funds to build and equip a centrally located drop-in resource center, located at NEW Health, which will be staffed by recovery coaches, behavioral health clinicians, and designated staff from community partners.

MGH Charlestown Medical Directors James Morrill, MD, and Anne Murray-Chiriboga, MD, said, “The grant has allowed the CrossRoads Resource Center to build bridges among different organizations committed to serving Charlestown. We will be opening our doors in June and will start helping people connect to much-needed services and opportunities. We are grateful for your support.”

Whittier Street Health Center Committee, Inc., Roxbury - $50,000
The mission of the Whittier Street Health Center is to provide quality, reliable, and accessible primary health care and support services for a predominantly low-socioeconomic and diverse patient population. The organization will use grant funds to buy dental equipment for its new satellite clinic in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood. The clinic currently provides urgent care, primary care, nutrition services, and behavioral health services; the purchase of dental equipment will allow the organization to also begin providing oral health services at this site.

“We are grateful for the investment by MassDevelopment to build our pediatric dental infrastructure to serve the vulnerable and marginalized patient populations in Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, South End and surrounding communities,” said Frederica Williams, President and CEO of Whittier Street Health Center Committee. “In addition to providing accessible and affordable options for routine and preventative oral health care, this investment will ensure that we continue to provide oral health cancer screenings, education and outreach programs and expert treatment for those at high risk of dental disease including a specialized HIV/AIDS Oral Health program.”

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2018, MassDevelopment financed or managed 384 projects generating investment of more than $4.1 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 10,994 jobs and build or rehabilitate 830 housing units.