Just as the specter of managed care contracting resulted in 'merger-mania' among hospitals nationwide in the mid-1990s, so too did community health centers form networks to improve their leverage in negotiating insurance contracts and enhanced patient care coordination.


In 1997, Community Care Alliance, LLC, formed a partnership among the community health centers affiliated with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). Community Care Alliance (CCA) members perceived value in not only being part of a larger contracting unit (the Beth Israel Deaconess Physicians Organization) but also in realizing synergies from collaborative clinical and administrative sharing.

Community Health Centers

BIDMC's affiliated health centers provide care to 90,000 patients at multiple sites throughout Greater Boston and Cape Cod. Five of the health centers are Section 330 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), and one, Bowdoin Street Health Center, operates under BIDMC's license.

The health centers serve diverse racial, ethnic and cultural communities, including many new arrivals to the United States. For approximately 65 percent of these patients, English is not their first language and the health centers' providers and staff are frequently bilingual/bicultural individuals who themselves live in those same neighborhoods and are often émigrés, too.

Networks of community health centers were increasingly encouraged by the federal government's Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) — the same agency that funds Section 330 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) — and CCA received HRSA funding and recognition as one of two Health Center Controlled Networks in Massachusetts.