Press Release

Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Announces $50 Million Investment in Community Health Centers

State leaders highlight important role CHCs play in fighting opioid epidemic
For immediate release:
10/25/2018
  • Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito
  • Executive Office of Health and Human Services
  • Governor's Press Office

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces $50 Million Investment in Community Health Centers

Brendan Moss, Press Secretary, Governor's Office

Governor Baker with recovery coach at Lynn Community Health Center.

LYNNThe Baker-Polito Administration today announced new investments totaling $50 million over five years to 35 community health centers (CHC) which serve thousands of individuals annually throughout the Commonwealth. During an event at the Lynn Community Health Center, Governor Baker and Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders highlighted how the funding will further provide treatment for young people and adults with behavioral health needs, and acknowledged the important role of CHCs in expanding access for opioid addiction treatment.

“Massachusetts is a national leader in health care coverage and today’s announcement will help ensure access to the vital medical and behavioral health treatment in health centers,” said Governor Baker. “Investing $50 million over five years to 35 community health centers builds on already historic funding increases for the Commonwealth’s behavioral health care services and delivers added support to treat individuals in the communities where they live and work.” 

“The Commonwealth has a strong network of community health centers that play a vital role in the makeup of their communities and the lives of the people they serve and we are pleased that this investment will help continue their important work,” saidLt. Governor Karyn Polito.  

In August, Governor Baker signed An Act for prevention and access to appropriate care and treatment of addiction. The law is the Baker-Polito Administration’s second major legislative action to address the opioid crisis since taking office in 2015, and expands the Commonwealth’s prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery strategies. Building on the STEP Act which instituted the nation’s first seven day limit on new opioid prescriptions resulting in a 30 percent decline in opioid prescriptions, the law creates a commission to establish credentialing standards for recovery coaches; expands the use of medication assisted treatment in emergency departments and five Houses of Correction; and requires all prescribers to convert to secure electronic prescriptions by 2020.

Over the next five years, the investment to CHCs will increase provider rates for psychiatry services and medical visits provided to children and adults, beginning January 1, 2019. In addition, MassHealth is improving access to school-based health centers.

“The funding will provide added financial reimbursement for treatment provided by community health centers and the important work they are doing to address the opioid epidemic,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders . “We are making a deliberate effort to invest in behavioral health care throughout the Commonwealth. In fact, this Administration has committed making more than $1.9 billion in behavioral health care investments over the next five years.” 

In March, MassHealth launched its restructured care delivery system through the implementation of 17 Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) and two Managed Care Organizations. ACOs are networks of physicians, hospitals and health care providers, including some community health centers that are responsible for the quality and total cost of care for their MassHealth members.  

“Community Health Centers are a key partner of MassHealth’s restructuring efforts,”said Assistant Secretary Daniel Tsai, who oversees the MassHealth program. “In addition, our ACOs are working closely with 27 Community Partners to provide specialty services and care coordination for members with complex behavioral and long-term care needs.”

The Lynn Community Health Center (LCHC) is at the forefront of integrated, community-based treatment for patients with a substance use disorder. As part of the Community Care Cooperative (C3) ACO, Lynn has a multidisciplinary Complex Addiction Team that provides SUD care and office-based Suboxone services in primary care. Lynn CHC is also partnering with North Shore Medical Center, Union Hospital, and Bridgewell to coordinate the treatment of MassHealth members who present in the emergency room with SUD. The program allows Bridgewell recovery coaches to see patients and NSMC clinicians to start treatment while the patient is in the emergency room, and for LCHC to continue treatment for SUD, as well as other mental illness and primary care issues, within 24 hours.  From there, the member is engaged by their care team and transferred to a primary care provider, or assigned a PCP if they do not have one already.

“As a community health center, our focus has been and continues to be on serving the most vulnerable members of our community. LCHC has focused on integrating primary care—which, in our definition, includes dental and eye care services—with behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment. The ACO framework, with its emphasis on holistic care, care management and population health management, is particularly well adapted to our mission,” said Lynn Community Health Center CEO Kiame Mahaniah, MD. “We are incredibly grateful to Governor Baker and his team for championing the prevention and treatment of substance use disorder. The administration’s strong voice and support has greatly helped in dispelling the stigma associated with SUD. The increase in rates for psychiatry services is a crucial support, both in building comprehensive teams to treat SUD in all its complexity, and in allowing us to further expand treatment of mental illness.”

Overall in 2017 there was a 4 percent decrease in opioid-related overdose deaths from 2016, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s (DPH) latest quarterly opioid-related deaths report. However, the presence of fentanyl in the toxicology of those who died from opioid-related overdose deaths rose to nearly 90 percent in 2018, underscoring its impact as the driving force behind the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts. Addictions, in particular, often exist in tandem with co-occurring disorders. The state’s Chapter 55 report found that risk of fatal opioid-related overdose is six times higher for persons diagnosed with a serious mental illness and three times higher for those diagnosed with depression.

“We are extremely grateful to Governor Baker and Secretary Sudders for these long-term investments in the state’s community health centers,” said James W. Hunt, Jr., president and CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers.“These new resources will go far in helping health centers better prevent and treat some of the most complex public health issues facing the Commonwealth’s communities, including mental health and substance use disorders.”

The 35 community health centers receiving funding include:

Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program
Brockton Neighborhood Health Center
Caring Health Center, Inc.
Charles River Community Health
CHP Health Center
Community Health Center of Cape Cod
Community Health Center of Franklin County
Community Health Connections Family Health Center
Community Healthlink
Dimock Community Health Center
Duffy Health Center
Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center
Family Health Center of Worcester
Fenway Community Health Center
Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, Inc.
Greater New Bedford Community Health Center
Harbor Health Services, Inc.
Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center
HealthFirst Family Care Center, Inc.
Hilltown Community Health Centers, Inc.
Holyoke Health Center
Island Health Care
Lowell Community Health Center
Lynn Community Health Center
Manet Community Health Center
Mattapan Community Health Center
North End Waterfront Health 
North Shore Community Health, Inc.
Outer Cape Health Services, Inc.
South Cove Community Health Center
South End Community Health Center
Springfield Health Services for the Homeless
Stanley Street Treatment and Resources (SSTAR)
Upham's Corner Health Center
Whittier Street Health Center

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Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces $50 Million Investment in Community Health Centers

Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito 

Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, and members of their administration are committed to making Massachusetts the best place to live, work, and raise a family.

Executive Office of Health and Human Services 

The Executive Office of Health and Human Services is the largest secretariat in state government and is comprised of 12 agencies, in addition to 2 soldiers’ homes and the MassHealth program. Our efforts are focused on the health, resilience, and independence of the one in four residents of the Commonwealth we serve. Our public health programs touch every community in the Commonwealth.

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