Joel Abrams
The stimulus program has given the Dorchester House what its executive director Joel Abrams calls a "tremendous boost." The multi service center, which provides medical community and public health services, serves approximately 23,000 patients a year in its 70,000 square foot facility and was quickly approaching over capacity.

About eight months ago, the Dorchester House, located in the heart of Dorchester, received a $240K stimulus grant due to its increased demand for services. Abrams says the grant enabled the center to retain four case managers who help patients navigate the system and get them access to everything from food stamps to housing to clothing.

"This helps us on our path to qualify as a medical home," says Abrams. "Patients

Huong and Vansso Vo
can come here for anything related to their healthcare."

The Dorchester House's "obsolete" - as Abrams terms it - IT infrastructure was the next thing on its list. A $900K stimulus grant enabled the center to upgrade its equipment and create more efficient and productive processes.

But it was the physical space that remained the center's most pressing problem. To Abrams delight, the Dorchester House was one of the eight Massachusetts community health centers to received stimulus grants for facilities improvement. The Dorchester House received $7.1 million.

photo: Dorchester House
Abrams says the increase over the years in patient population has led to overcrowded conditions at the center. "We need new clinical space," he says. "We created an urgent care center but it is shoehorned into existing space. The pharmacy is so cramped.

The center is planning a two-phase project that involves building a new 17,000-square foot building attached to the existing building and then a renovation of the current space. The funds will allow the center to expand its clinical, pharmacy, lab and urgent care space.

"We were absolutely thrilled to get the stimulus grants," says Abrams. "It will help us serve the community better."