Kennedy CHC Awarded $288,750 to Expand Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Access

Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center is pleased to announce that it is the recipient of an award of $288,750 from the Fiscal Year 2018 Expanding Access to Quality Substance Abuse Disorder and Mental Health Services (SUD-MH) award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Health Resource Services Administration (HRSA). Funding will be used to support and expand staffing in its SUD and behavioral health departments with a goal of increasing the number of MAT and BH patients served.

This funding awarded a total of $352,289,768 to 1,232 health centers nationwide to implement and advance evidence-based strategies to expand access to integrated substance abuse disorder and mental health services, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT) services.  The awards support HHS’s Five-Point Opioid Strategy, which launched in 2017 to empower local communities on the frontlines of the national crisis.  These funds will make a significant impact in furthering community-driven efforts to reduce opioid use and increase access to mental health access, and builds upon HHS’s 2017 investment of $200 million to 1,178 community health center access the U.S. to increase access to SUD and mental health services.

Toni McGuire, President/CEO at Kennedy CHC, states, “federally qualified community health centers, like Kennedy CHC, always stand ready to address any community or public health crisis. This funding allows us to continue to integrate, meet and expand the behavioral health of our patients in the primary care setting and we look forward to enhancing our work in the Central MA and MetroWest regions.”


The mission of Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center (Kennedy CHC) is to “help people live healthier lives.”   We believe that everyone has a right to accessible, high quality, comprehensive, integrated and compassionate health care. As a community health center, Kennedy CHC has always provided comprehensive care to its patients, who are at disparate risk for chronic disease and poor health outcomes. Our vision is to be a constantly growing, financially sound, Federally Qualified Community Health Center that:
  • efficiently delivers high quality, accessible primary care services.
  • becomes the health care home and provider choice of all our patients.
  • achieves excellence in outcomes with our patients as partners.
  • remains at the forefront of innovative health care practices.
Founded in a Worcester housing project in 1972, today Kennedy CHC has three medical facilities, three dental sites, two optometry practices and six school-based clinics serving residents of Worcester, Framingham, Clinton, Milford, and the surrounding communities of MetroWest and Central Massachusetts.  Currently over 26,000 patients of all ages receive care and service through Kennedy CHC’s family practice model of care, a comprehensive approach to the delivery of quality primary and urgent care, medical specialties, nutrition counseling, dental care, optometry, pharmacy, behavioral health, social services, health education and youth development programs. Kennedy CHC is certified as a patient-centered medical home by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), a  model that supports the flow of information among medical teams, coordinating health care visits, utilizing electronic technologies for tracking and errors prevention, and providing follow-up while, most importantly, engaging patients in their care. 
In 2017, 18.6% of Kennedy CHC’s patients resided in public housing, or 4,871 patients.  In 2017, according to the Health Resources and Services (HRSA) Administration Uniform Data System (UDS), 65% of Kennedy CHC’s reporting patient population were considered low income (using 200% or less of the federal poverty level) with 32.79% uninsured, 45.64% insured by MassHealth, 2.96% with other public insurance, 7.34% on Medicare and only 11.26% with private insurance.
Kennedy CHC serves a patient population that is ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse; 46.68% of Kennedy CHC’s patient population self-identify as Hispanic/Latino, and 75.66% of our patient population is best served in a language other than English, speaking a range of over 90 languages.  Our patient base is also racially diverse, serving 3.78% Asian, .39% Pacific Islander, 12.19% Black/African American, .01% American Indian/Alaska Native, 50.5% White, and 30.55% self-identify with more than one race.