NEW Health Charlestown Celebrates 5 Years

In 2012, North End Waterfront Health (NEW Health) opened a health center at the Charlestown High School after a request was made from the Boston Public Health Commission. Residents of the Bunker Hill Housing Development heard about the success of the school based health center and approached leaders of North End Waterfront about the possibility of opening a new health center in Charlestown for residents. Since many of the residents had insurance plans that were only accepted by Boston Medical Center, they had to travel long distances to access primary and specialty care. Tom MacDonald, who runs the local food pantry told NEW Health he was driving locals to appointments at BMC because of transportation issues.

As a Federally Qualified Health Center, NEW Health was able to apply for federal funding to find and open a satellite site in Charlestown. The case had to be made for the need for services based on health disparities in the area. City and State data reported that Charlestown was #1 in Boston for diabetes mortality and substance use hospitalizations and rated high in stroke and heart disease. Based on this data, it’s Board of Directors decided to move forward in the search for the new health center. After a 2 year search, Michael Rauseo of Suffolk Construction offered the old St. Catherine School on Tufts St. as a possible building to house the new health center. With the federal grant and support from NEW Health’s main site, the new health center opened in December 2015.

NEW Health Center has grown since then, now serving over 5,000 residents in all of Charlestown. As a Joint Commission and NCQA certified site, it was rated as in the top 4% of all health centers in the country by the Dept. of Health and Human Services of the federal Government. Today, the center has an integrated model of care incorporating primary care with behavioral health and substance use disorder services. By providing dental, vision and nutrition with access to specialty services at either MGH or BMC, we believe this is the best model for keeping people healthy.

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