Welcome to Charles River Community Health! We are pleased you are interested in becoming a patient here. To get started, here is some important information to know and have handy.
Important Telephone Numbers
What is Family Medicine?
The specialty of Family Medicine is based on lasting, caring relationships with patients and their families. Family Physicians and Family Nurse Practitioners have received clinical training to take care of children as well as adults in order to provide quality and comprehensive health care to all patients regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or type of medical care.
Our Model of Care: A Medical Home
At CRCH we are committed to providing you with the quality care you need, when you need it most. As part of a medical home, your care will be delivered by a small team of providers, nurses, and medical assistants. Together they will help you maintain your health by making sure you are up to date on all of your lab work, cancer screenings, and immunizations. If you should develop a chronic condition they will aid in creating a custom care plan, and will help you follow it. When needed your care team will assist you in seeing a specialist and will coordinate your care with the specialist’s office.
As part of a medical home, CRCH is committed to providing easy access to your care team. Because of this we provide same day sick visits and can normally schedule follow up visits and physical exams within a week. Additionally, your care team is available by phone during normal business hours, and a health center provider is available outside of business hours if you should ever need us.
As a member of this team, you may seek health advice by phone during regular office hours from another member of your team. We strongly encourage you to schedule all of your appointments in advance, including same day urgent care.
Your Primary Care Provider (PCP)
A Primary care provider (PCP) is a person who sees to your common medical problems and helps you stay healthy. This person is doctor, a physician assistant (PA), or nurse practitioner (NP). If you are admitted to the hospital, your primary care provider may assist in, or direct your care, depending on the circumstances.
Your primary care provider is often involved in your care for a long time. It is important to select someone with whom you will feel comfortable. Your primary care provider is the leader of your medical home team. This team includes you and other health center staff who work together to get you through an illness and help keep you healthy.
Charles River Community Health is committed to providing culturally competent, comprehensive care. While the health center has providers that are bilingual, there may be occasions when a provider that speaks your language is not available. If this should occur, staff at the health center will make every effort to offer interpreter services for your visit. The medical interpreter will maintain confidentiality and respect the client’s privacy.
Charles River Community Health is pleased to provide Interpretation in the following languages:
- Haitian Creole
Additional interpreting services are available through our language-line telephone interpreters.
Charles River Community Health operates two pharmacies available to our established patients, with one at each of the locations in Brighton and Waltham.
Benefits of becoming a health center patient and using the onsite pharmacies include:
Fast – At the time of your visit ask your provider to call your medication in to the On-site Pharmacy and soon after your visit is over your medication should be ready for you.
Cost Effective – Depending on your insurance, as a current patient of the health center, filling your prescriptions at our On-site Pharmacy may cost you less than what you currently pay.
Safe – As a current patient of the health center, your medical record links directly with the pharmacy computer system so we have accurate, up-to-date information about every prescription your doctor writes for you. The pharmacist can quickly contact your provider should questions arise about your prescription.
Initial Health Appointments
An Initial Health Appointment is a consultation to discuss and collect your medical history, examine you, discuss medication use, and determine a plan of care for you.
You must have an IHA to establish your care with the Health Center to be able to be triaged by nurses and seek advice of the On Call Providers, as well as schedule routine follow up and prevention visits.
At the time of your IHA it is important that you arrive 15 minutes prior for registration purposes. Please bring your insurance card, co-payment (if applicable), and all Medications including Over the counter prescriptions. If you are transferring from another Health Center please provide your Medical Records by fax to 617-783-5514.
Preparing and Arriving for Appointments
Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment to check-in.
Bring the following to your visit:
- Your insurance card (if you have one)
- Your co-pay
- Your list of medications, if taking any
- Proof of income, if enrolling for insurance (last two paystubs, tax returns, letter of employment)
- Proof of identity (drivers license, Mass ID)
- Medical records from your previous doctor
- A list of any health concerns that you would like to discuss with your provider
In order to prevent billing errors please inform us if you have moved or have changed your phone number(s).
Cancelling An Appointment
We understand that sometimes it is not possible to keep an appointment. Do not forget to call if you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment. If you cannot come in at your appointment time, please call us within 24 hours. This way we an offer your appointment time to another patient who may need it. If you still need to be seen, we can also reschedule your appointment to another convenient time.
You will receive an automated call the night before your appointment confirming that you have a scheduled appointment at the Health Center. You have the ability to cancel or confirm your appointment, and a staff member will call you in the morning the following day to reschedule your appointment if needed.
Urgent Care Appointments for Established Patients
If you are an established patient and you are sick and would like to either make an appointment to be seen or speak with a nurse, please call our main number 617-783-0500 and choose the extension to speak to the nurse of your primary care provider. If you do not reach a live nurse, it is very important to leave a message with the patient’s full name, date of birth, the best phone number where you can be reached, and the reason for your call. The nurse will to get back to your call in the order that it was received and based on the medical urgency of your complaint.
Expect that the nurse may ask you questions regarding your symptoms and will help in either scheduling a timely office visit or provide medical recommendations over the phone.
Nurses will work on the phones during all clinic hours, and an on call provider will be available during off hours. We urge you to utilize this service and meet our friendly and compassionate nurses!
We strongly encourage you to call before coming to the health center. In some cases, we can save you a trip. If you need to be seen and you call ahead we can fit you in so your wait time is minimal. If you just walk in without calling, it is possible that we may not be able to see you.
If the Health Center is Closed:
- Should an urgent need or emergency occur and you need our services when the center is closed, a medical doctor or nurse practitioner is always available (on call).
- To reach the on-call provider, call the regular health center telephone number (617-783-0500); the answering service will forward all calls and concerns to the on-call provider, who should get in touch with you within 30 minutes.
- You will be asked to provide your name, telephone number, and a description of your medical concern.
- If you do not get a response within an hour, please call again.
- If you experience a medical emergency, please call 911 and if necessary proceed to the nearest emergency room (ER)
- Give the 911 dispatcher your name, street and city address, and a brief description of the kind of emergency. (For example: cannot breathe)
When to go to the Emergency Room:
The emergency room is not always the best or right place for you and your care. It may not always be necessary for you and can be very expensive.
Emergency care is care that is needed right away for a serious medical problem like:
- Trouble breathing
- Heavy or sudden bleeding
- Severe or sudden chest pain or pressure
- Any other serious health problem needing immediate attention
In an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
If you are uninsured or are having insurance problems:
If you do not have health insurance, please schedule an appointment with our CAC (Certified Application Counselor) who will meet with you and help you apply for special programs and/or service discounts. You may also call if you are having insurance problems.
Please ask to make an appointment for help with insurance. If you are not covered by insurance at the time of your visit, you may be responsible for payment.
To reach our Certified Application Counselor call:
Co-payments are payments that are determined by your insurance coverage or income and all payments, including co-payments, are expected at the time of service. We accept cash, checks, MasterCard and Visa.
Please bring your insurance card to every visit. Please let us know if you have had any changes in your insurance so that we can bill correctly for your care.
It is important that you keep your insurance active so that you do not have any time without insurance coverage. Here are some tips:
- Always tell your insurance company and/or MassHealth if you change your name or address so that you will always receive any important information that is sent to you.
- Always read messages or letters from your insurance company or MassHealth and follow any instructions. If you have any questions about messages or letters, call for an appointment with the Health Benefits Department as soon as possible.
- If you are asked to bring information about your income to the health center, please make sure you bring all requested information.
- Even when you have insurance, you may have fees to pay. However, based on your income you may be able to pay reduced fees for services.
- State coverage needs to be renewed every year, so make sure that you are aware of when your insurance expires so that you are always covered.
The referral department serves as a liaison between the PCP in the office and specialists at outside facilities. Coordinating care is the way that ensures that office notes, medications, labs and other test results are easily available by the physicians who are treating you.
Referrals should be requested prior to a visit with the specialist. Certain referrals need to be processed through the patient’s insurance.
If you have a medical question about a referral, call your primary care office.
If you are requesting information about whether a referral is covered by your health plan or have a question in regards to location and specialist information. Please call the Managed Care Department at (617) 208-1662.
For comments or concerns:
Here at Charles River Community Health we recognize that there is always room for improvement in the way we deliver health care. If you have any concerns or you find an area in which we could improve please feel free to ask to speak to a supervisor who can fill out an Opportunity for Improvement form for you. The Director of Quality Improvement reviews and addresses all Opportunity for Improvement submissions and will gladly discuss any issues with your at your request.
- CRCH at Gardner Pilot Academy
For the staff, students, and families of GPA students, and our current patients
- CRCH at Jackson Mann Complex
For the staff, students, and families of the Jackson Mann School and Horace Mann School for the Deaf, and our current patients
We refer patients to the following hospitals for specialty care:
- Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center – Boston, MA
- Children’s Hospital – Boston, MA
- Mount Auburn Hospital – Cambridge, MA