The Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers (the League) has been a member of the Massachusetts Adult Immunization Coalition (MAIC) for two years. Established in 1972, the League is the statewide association serving the needs of the state’s 49 community health centers (CHCs) through grassroots advocacy; technical assistance with state and federal health regulatory and policy issues; promotion and management of quality initiatives; training and education for administrators, clinicians and board members; help with health center technology development; and work with local health advocacy organizations seeking to open health centers. The League also serves as an information source on community-based health care to policymakers, opinion leaders and the media.
Community health centers (CHCs) in Massachusetts are viewed as leaders in the delivery of comprehensive services for patients across the Commonwealth and provide primary, preventive, dental and eye care, as well as mental health, substance abuse and other community-based services to anyone in need regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. In Massachusetts, CHCs represent the largest primary care network in the state, serving one out of every eight (800,000) residents through more than 280 sites. The state’s CHCs care for patients of all ages, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and represent a major source of care for medically underserved women and children. Health center patients are disproportionately low-income, publicly insured or uninsured, and at higher risk for developing complications associated with chronic diseases like diabetes, depression, heart disease and cancer. The League is a key partner in the MAIC Project with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and JSI for increasing the rate of adult immunizations, particularly among the population CHCs serve, including low income, underinsured and uninsured. We conducted a baseline survey in 2012 and are implementing clinical education sessions showcasing evidenced-based practices to improve immunization rates through 2013.