Incubators of Innovation: Our Nation’s Community Health Centers

<<Incubators of Innovation: Our Nation’s Community Health Centers

Incubators of Innovation: Our Nation’s Community Health Centers

One of the most effective primary care provider networks in America’s healthcare system, community health centers started over 50 years ago right here in Massachusetts as a pilot project during President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. Today, over 1,300 health centers across the country have a significant record of success:

  • Producing $24 billion in annual health system savings
  • Reducing unnecessary hospitalizations and unnecessary visits to the emergency room
  • Treating patients for a fraction of the average cost of one emergency room visit
  • Maintaining patient satisfaction levels of nearly 100 percent
  • Generating $26.5 billion in economic activity and over 230,000 jobs
  • Reducing infant mortality rates

In Massachusetts, 50 community health centers:

  • Serve 951,000 patients (that’s one in seven state residents) through more than 300 sites
  • Generate 14,000 jobs and contribute $2 billion in total statewide output
  • Produce $1.2 billion in annual savings for the state’s health system
  • Surpass national benchmarks for a host of clinical quality measures, including those focused on asthma, hypertension, healthy birthweights for newborns and immunizations

Massachusetts community health centers prevent illness and foster wellness in unique populations, producing innovative solutions to the most pressing healthcare issues in our communities. From providing some of the nation’s first HIV services, to pioneering models of care for patients suffering with chronic illness, to expanding dental coverage for millions of underserved residents, Massachusetts health centers continue to meet the never-ending challenge of providing access to care for people who, without community health centers, might not have it.


Here at Charles River Community Health we provide care using a Patient Centered Medical Home approach, where a patient’s primary care provider, nurse, dentist, pharmacist, mental health clinician and others come together as a team to provide care that is coordinated, high quality, and cost-effective.  Our community health staff also addresses social determinants of health by connecting patients with community resources such as food, housing and legal assistance.


Community health centers have the unique ability to reach beyond the walls of conventional medicine and address the social factors that may cause and perpetuate sickness, such as lack of nutrition, mental illness, homelessness and addiction. Our long record of success in managing healthcare costs and reducing chronic disease are due to our understanding of the true needs of our patients and our communities at large.


As we celebrate National Health Center Week, community health centers across the Commonwealth are hosting health fairs, back-to-school drives, legislative breakfasts, free health screenings and dental cleanings, and much more.


Come by our Brighton or Waltham sites this week to celebrate National Health Center Week!  We have health fairs in Waltham on Tuesday 8/9 from 10am-12pm and in Brighton on Thursday 8/11 from 1-3pm.  There will be information tables from many community agencies, a teddy bear clinic, health screenings, face painting and more!  All in the community are welcome.