Access to Care
For most of us, when we think of healthcare, we likely think of a visit to a doctor or other type of provider such as a nurse practitioner. Unfortunately, there are many in our region who do not have a primary care physician. For these residents, the local hospital emergency room often becomes the provider of choice, adding to the cost and discontinuity of medical care.
In MetroWest the lack of primary care physicians is most striking within Framingham and Marlborough and among certain ethnic minorities. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey data for the region found that only 56 percent of African-American adults and 79 percent of Hispanic adults had a personal doctor compared to 92 percent of white adults. A 2013 study by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Massachusetts also found that Framingham and Marlborough had higher rates of uninsured children and adults than the rest of the state.
- Improve primary and preventative care capacity in high need communities by supporting the expansion of community health centers and other health care institutions that serve low-income and vulnerable populations.
- Increase health insurance coverage and health care visits by supporting outreach and enrollment efforts and use of community health workers.
- Promote primary care as the cornerstone of a comprehensive approach to care through the concepts of integrated care and patient-centered medical homes.
- Primary Care Expanded in Framingham
The foundation provided a $1 million grant – the largest in its history – to fund the expansion of the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center in downtown Framingham. The facility, which opened in 2012, includes additional exam rooms, which created the capacity to hire more practitioners. The result has been reduced wait lists and over 7,000 receiving care at the Health Center annually.
- Primary Care Expanded in Milford
The foundation also supported the construction and operation of a satellite community health center in Milford, a previously underserved area, with a $400,000 grant. It opened in March 2014 and serves 1,500 patients annually.
- More Children and adults covered by health insurance
The foundation also funded five organizations to increase insurance enrollment and connection to primary care through the use of community health workers and other staff as well as the integration of behavioral health care into a pediatric practice.