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
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
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.