Outer Cape Health Services
Although Cape Cod is often thought of as America's vacationland-a favorite spot of presidents, actors and well-healed visitors-it is actually a region bereft of adequate health care services and is designated as one of Massachusetts's rural areas. Residents of the Outer Cape (the well-known Provincetown area) are geographically isolated, with the nearest hospital more than 50 miles away, accessed by a two-lane highway that in the summer is known as "suicide alley." To meet the needs of local residents,
Outer Cape Health Services was formed in 1966 and today is one of the only health care providers (and the only dental care provider) serving the eight outermost towns on the Cape. Although the population of the Cape swells threefold in the summer with wealthy tourists, during the winter months, the unemployment rate may approach 40% and access to free/low-cost, quality health care becomes a critical issue.
As with her sister health centers, Outer Cape provides a full complement of primary care, laboratory, radiological and pharmacy services. Through its relationship with BIDMC, Outer Cape also offers on-site specialty care (so patients don't have to travel 3.5 hours to Boston) including pulmonology and infectious disease physicians (for the large group of patients living with HIV/AIDS). During the summer months, BIDMC's Emergency Department physicians operate an after-hours and summer Urgent Care Service to accommodate the increased demand for care.