August 2007

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This point datalayer contains the location of community health centers (CHCs) in Massachusetts. The layer was produced by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MA DPH) Bureau of Environmental Health (BEH) GIS program. The source material was provided by Tina Ford Wright, Publications and Marketing Assistant, Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, a.k.a. "the League," ( The League defines a community health center as a non-profit community-based organization that offers comprehensive primary and preventive health care, including medical, social and/or mental health services, to anyone in need regardless of their medical status, ability to pay, culture or ethnicity.

The layer is named CHCS_PT.

CHCs are grouped into Main and Satellite locations. Main CHCs may have one or more satellite locations (also known as access points). The MCHC_CODE item defines the affiliation between main CHCs and their satellites.

CHCs vary by both the facility and/or building type in which they are located, scope of clinical services offered, and target patient population(s). The BEH GIS program used the MassGIS Hospitals, Schools, Colleges and Universities, and Prisons datalayers, and Internet Web sites in the case of homeless shelters, to derive the locations of health centers in these facilities. Health centers known to be administrative offices are attributed accordingly. With respect to clinical services, this GIS datalayer makes no distinction among CHCs. An exception is eye care and dental service providers that are indicated in the EYE and DENTAL fields. No information regarding target patient populations is explicitly defined, though assumptions may be based on health center name and/or location.

In all cases, patients seeking care should contact the CHCs directly to verify availability of clinical services, hours, etc., rather than rely on the information contained in this GIS datalayer, as such information is subject to change.


A development dataset was generated by address-matching the Massachusetts League of Community Health Center's data. Whenever possible, development locations were manually refined using 1:5000 color digital ortho-photography AND other MassGIS infrastructure datalayers. Internet map sources (individual facility web sites, municipal assessors databases, Pictometry via,, were also used to refine development locations. Address attributes were verified against the USPS database (Accumail Gold).


The layer's point attribute table contains the following items:
GIS_ID Unique ID assigned to each CHC by BEH
MCHC_CODE Internal code linking satellite to main facilities

Category of facility:
  HOSPITAL = Hospital-based health center
  NOS = Not otherwise specified
  HOMELESS = Homeless shelter
  PRISON = Prison-based health Center
  SCHOOL = Primary, secondary, or post-secondary school-based clinic
 Distinguishes administrative versus clinical offices
  Y = Yes
  N = Assumed No
ADDRESS Postal address of facility
ADDRESS_OTHER Secondary address elements
PO_BOX Post Office box
TOWN_ID Unique numeric identifier of town in which the CHC is located
MAIL_CITY Postal city
ZIP U.S. Postal ZIP Code
 Automation method:
  R = refined against orthophoto and other sources
  G = address-matched
SATELLITE Distinguishes between main (N) and satellite (Y) facilities
EYE Indicates availability of eye care (Y/N)
DENTAL Indicates availability of dental services (Y/N)


The MA DPH BEH GIS Program maintains this layer.

Last Updated 8/21/2007