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Category: 2012
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Spectrum Health Systems, Inc. recently celebrated the successful opening of a primary care medical office within its newly renovated Spectrum Professional Building at 585 Lincoln Street.

The project is the result of an auspicious collaboration between Spectrum and the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center (Kennedy CHC). Because of it, the greater Worcester community will see a substantial increase in the number of at-risk individuals under the care of a Primary Care Physician (PCP), allowing them to receive much needed preventative health care and ongoing medical treatment for a host of chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension and chronic respiratory disease.

The celebration included an Open House attended by local community and government leaders, project funders, and neighbors. State Representative James O'Day said at the Open House, "Throughout my tenure as a State Representative, I have been both proud and grateful for my partnership with Spectrum Health Systems. Spectrum provides a vital, critical service to our community, and I am excited for it to begin a new chapter in spreading the joy of recovery with this new program."

Historically, individuals in recovery from addictions underutilize preventative healthcare and pose a greater risk for a variety of serious medical conditions. Poor access to a PCP is one reason for this underutilization of preventative healthcare. According to the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS), Massachusetts is suffering a "critical shortage" of PCPs, finding in 2009 that 56% of Massachusetts physicians in internal medicine were not accepting new patients.

Put bluntly by the former president of the MMS, Dr. Alice Coombs, "Massachusetts has made great strides in securing insurance coverage for its citizens, but insurance coverage doesn't equal access to care."

By collaborating with the Kennedy CHC, Spectrum is assured that the medical staff seeing patients is familiar with and sensitized to the particular needs and characteristics of this underserved population, and will provide primary care services to them efficiently and economically.

Benefits of integrated care to clients will include increased convenience, higher satisfaction with care, improved outcomes in terms of substance abuse, mental health and physical health and decreased stigma.

Spectrum and the Kennedy CHC will benefit from improved patient outcomes, less duplication of services, better communication across treatment teams and increased reimbursement parity. For society, the benefits will be lower healthcare costs, decreases in crime rates and criminal justice costs, a positive public health impact and increased productivity.

Based in Worcester, Massachusetts, Spectrum Health Systems, Inc. is a private, nonprofit substance abuse and mental health treatment provider. Spectrum operates more than 100 institutional and community-based programs in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Georgia, Tennessee, Maine, Iowa and Washington State – serving more than 40,000 individuals each year.

CONTACT:
Andrew Strecker, Development Associate
(508) 792-5400 x7113
streckera@spectrumsys.org