Charles River Community Health
As the gateway to the City, the Allston-Brighton neighborhoods are Boston's most culturally and economically diverse areas. Many new arrivals settle in Allston-Brighton and their visits to Charles River Community Health (CRCH), formerly Joseph M. Smith Community Health Center, may be their first exposure to primary care and the notion of preventive care. With the passage of Massachusetts' historic health care reform legislation, many CRCH patients are now eligible for state-supported insurance coverage however, many more undocumented individuals-about 40% of CRCH's patient panel-still remain uncovered. As the melting pot of Boston, CRCH patients also speak many languages as does the staff that provides care in 16 languages!
As with her sister health centers, CRCH tailors its services to meet the needs of its community. Given the prevalence of diabetes in the Latino community, CRCH has a special initiative developed in collaboration with the Joslin Diabetes Center. With Children's Hospital Boston, CRCH participates in the ASK Program (Advocating Success for Kids) which brings developmental pediatricians and educational specialists into the Center to provide on-site evaluations for at-risk youth. The Center also operates two school-based health centers which increase access for both students and their parents.
Another significant project of Charles River Community Health is its participation in a pilot program of The Commonwealth Fund and the Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services. There is great interest nationally in the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH), a model that is touted in the recent federal Health Care Reform legislation also. Massachusetts was fortunate to be chosen by the Commonwealth Fund as one of five cities for this innovative pilot, and CRCH is one of ten health centers engaged in this effort.
One of the reasons that CRCH was chosen for the PCMH project was its sophisticated use of Electronic Health Records (EHR). The Executive Director and Medical Director have presented at national conferences on EHRs and as we approach the era of "Meaningful Use" (also a requirement of federal health care reform), CRCH will undoubtedly lead the movement in demonstrating how to meet these new required standards.