Southcoast Health partners with Wareham site of Greater New Bedford Community Health Center to make Wareham a healthier community

WAREHAM, Mass. – Since its opening in 2015 as a primary care facility for the underserved population in the greater Wareham area, the Greater New Bedford Community Health Center’s Wareham site has been successful in assisting new families in the area obtain primary care services.

To support the Health Center’s outreach efforts, the Southcoast Health stepped up with a grant of $10,000 to develop a campaign targeting people in the community who are at risk, including the homeless population. The funding enabled the Center to implement a vigorous outreach program with a concentration of care on the treatment of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Southcoast Health awards grants to non-profit organizations that are working to address unmet health needs in the South Coast region through its Community Benefits Impact Opportunity program.

Kathleen Minnock, the site manager in Wareham, cited the story of one family that moved to Wareham to get away from a situation very harmful to mother and children. The staff provided the children with basic immunization so they could attend school, assisted the family in obtaining insurance coverage and worked closely with the family to address health concerns. Today, both mother and children as well as members of their extended family are receiving care at the Health Center.

“That is just one of our many success stories,” Minnock said. “With the support of community partners like Southcoast Health, we can help individuals and families in the community on the path to wellness. The need is great, but we are experiencing considerable growth in the number of patients receiving care.”

“With the region’s high rate of chronic disease, one of our goals is to help patients better manage conditions like heart disease and diabetes,” said Yvonne Hitchens, LICSW. “The grant from Southcoast Health made it possible to train a staff member in motivational interviewing, a counseling technique which helps give patients the confidence to make and sustain positive behavioral changes, and to enhance our smoking cessation and diabetes screening programs.”

“We’re especially proud of the fact that we have been successful in assisting over 60 patients in obtaining health insurance coverage, including seven homeless individuals who now have active insurance coverage,” Minnock added.

Southcoast Health’s annual Community Benefits Impact Opportunity program is part of larger community benefits efforts which positively impacts hundreds of thousands of residents on the South Coast. In 2016, Southcoast Health invested a total of $18.8 million in community benefits.