Dr. Deane Marchbein: MD, President of the U.S. board of directors of Doctors Without Borders

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Deane Marchbein, MD, Anesthesiologist and President of the U.S. board of directors of Doctors Without Borders, an organization formed to offer care to millions of patients in over 60 war torn or impoverished countries around the world. 

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Special Thanks to All who Made Health Center Week a Huge Success

National Health Center Week has been celebrated for more than 30 years.  Each year, Community Health Center, Inc. works hard to plan events that not only raise awareness throughout our 13 CT sites but to also offer members of the community a chance to join in on the fun. This year, CHC’s staff worked tirelessly to organize free, family-friendly events, at various sites, to raise awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s health centers as local gateways to healthcare.

Each event had its own special touch that was created by a variety of CHC staff members who took on planning efforts in addition to their regular workload. Six of our sites also offered patients Free Oral Cancer Screenings in collaboration with the week of celebration. From Saturday, August 9th, to Saturday August 16th, events happened almost every day and the end result was providing patients and community members with an abundance of free services & information. From HIV & Hep C testing, blood pressure screenings, mobile dental services for kids, Oral Cancer Screenings, CHC handouts about services and local groups joining in on the effort, the week was a huge success and many people are responsible for the result.

In addition to their long history as health care homes to millions, Health Centers are also proud to maintain a more than 45 year record being ranked among the highest quality and cost effective care providers in the nation. Health Centers provide their services to all people, regardless of their ability to pay or insurance status. Today, America’s Health Centers serve almost 22 million people (including 921,035 Farmworkers and more than 1,145,449 people who are Homeless) at about 9,000 delivery sites in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and U.S. territories.

Since 1972, Community Health Center, Inc. has been one of the leading healthcare providers in the state of Connecticut, building a world-class primary health care system committed to caring for uninsured and underserved populations. CHC is focused on improving health outcomes for its more than 130,000 patients as well as building healthy communities. Recognized as both a Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home by the National Committee for Quality Assurance and a Primary Care Medical Home by The Joint Commission, CHC delivers service in more than 200 locations statewide, offering primary care in medical, dental and behavioral health services.

  •  Day Street CHC –2nd annual SONO Day Out, Ryan Park, Norwalk.

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  • CHC of Meriden – free HIV &Hep C testing at the Puerto Rican Festival

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  • CHC of Clinton – Health Walk and Litter Clean-up

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  • CHC of New Britain — healthy lifestyles fair and farmers market

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  •  CHC of Middletown – Walk from the health center to  a health, wellness and family fun festival.

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  • CHC of New London, Fresh New London and NL staff  plant a beautiful garden on the grounds of the health center.

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Take a photo tour of the past week with fabulous events throughout CT on our facebook album below!


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National Health Center Week – Oral Cancer Screening in Meriden

Yesterday, Community Health Center of Meriden celebrated National Health Center Week by offering free oral cancer screenings to patients of the health center and community members.

About 39,000 Americans each year are diagnosed with oral cancer, a cancer that can develop in the lips, mouth, or back of the throat. With about 8,000 deaths in America each year from oral cancer, CHC has decided to educate patients about the nature of the disease and how to prevent it.

Certain risk factors can increase a person’s likelihood of developing oral cancer.  One such factor is smoking tobacco, including cigars, cigarettes, and smokeless tobacco.  Other risk factors include drinking large quantities of alcohol, a personal history of oral cancer, a personal history of HPV, and sun exposure.

Quitting smoking can greatly reduce the risk of developing oral cancer.  CHC offers a smoking cessation program called Rewards to Quit for eligible Husky A, C, and D members.  Reducing alcohol consumption and wearing lip balm or sunscreen can reduce oral cancer risk.  Finally, getting screened for oral cancer or visiting a dentist regularly – every 6 months- can allow providers to detect oral cancer early.

One of CHC’s dental hygienists, Beata Milewska, screened patients behind a privacy screen in the Meriden waiting room area.  Oral cancer exams are very simple, can be performed anywhere and only take about 5 minutes.  In an oral exam, a dental professional will gently check the tissue on the inside of the mouth and palpate the glands on the neck.   Beata screened 23 patients for oral cancer during the event!  Each patient was also screened to see if they needed assistance with health insurance enrollment.  Overall, our patients were very excited for a dental professional to check their mouth and educate them about the importance of oral health.

CHC patients can get comprehensive dental services at several of our health centers across the state. CHC also has a mobile dental program that travels across the state setting up a mobile dental office at locations from schools to churches to community events.

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Celebrating National Health Center Week!

Community Health Center, Inc. (CHC) is currently recognizing National Health Center Week 2014 (NHCW), which is observed August 10-16, by hosting free, family-friendly events, at various sites, to raise awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s health centers as local gateways to healthcare.

So far this week, we have participated in & hosted four events within Norwalk, Meriden, Clinton & New Britain. Free Oral Cancer screenings are also being offered at different sites throughout the week for our patients. CHC staff members are so dedicated to patients and the different communities we serve throughout CT and this week of events would not be possible without their tireless efforts.

National Health Center Week is an opportunity for community health centers across the nation to open their doors to the community and showcase the high quality, comprehensive care that is available. As of today, we are halfway through the week and have had some amazing memories made within our communities. Two events remain, one in Middletown’s Harbor park on Friday & another in New London on Saturday. Keep an eye out for more details and updates on all of these events, especially on our facebook page– https://www.facebook.com/CHCInc?ref=hl

On Saturday, August 9th, 11am – 3pm, Day Street CHC  provided health and wellness activities, including blood pressure screenings and nutrition education at the 2nd annual SONO Day Out, Ryan Park, Norwalk.


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On Sunday, August 10th, CHC of Meriden  provided free HIV &Hep C testing from 12-4:30pm at the Puerto Rican Festival, Hubbard Park, 999 West Main Street, Meriden.

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On Monday, August 11th, CHC of Clinton hosted a Community Health Walk and Litter Clean-up, 9am-1pm, followed by breakfast and a health fair in Liberty Square.


On Tuesday, August 12th, 11-2pm, CHC of New Britain hosted a healthy lifestyles fair and farmers market.

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The final two events of the week take place below– we also have a great photo album on facebook so please check out all the highlights. https://www.facebook.com/CHCInc?ref=hl#!/media/set/?set=a.10152579908797931.1073741892.26414222930&type=1 

Friday, August 15th, CHC of Middletown will host a Community Health Walk from the health center to Harbor Park, where there will be a health, wellness and family fun festival. Walk starts at 1, event goes until 4.

Saturday, August 16th, at CHC of New London, Fresh New London and ISSAC School will be on hand to help our staff and patients plant a beautiful garden on the grounds of the health center from 9am-12pm.


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Jonathan Gruber, PhD, MIT Economist

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Jonathan Gruber, Health Economist and Professor of Economics at MIT. Gruber is the key architect of the Massachusetts health reform as well as the Affordable Care Act and discusses the successes as well as legal challenges facing the health care law moving forward. 

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Next week on Conversations on Health Care: Dr. Jonathan Gruber

Next week on Conversations on Health Care, Margaret and I speak with Dr. Jonathan Gruber who was one of the key architects of the Massachusetts Health Reform legislation, and advised the Obama administration on the creation of the Affordable Care Act.  We’ll talk a little bit about the controversy around things he’s said about the Affordable Care Act.

One of the more interesting things that Dr. Gruber talks about is how central the actual administration of the exchanges would be.  It all comes back to the attention to detail that is so important in health care, whether you are running a health exchange, or a health center.  It is this attention to detail that has been so important in the success of CHC.

To learn more about the success of AccessHealthCT and other State Exhanges, read The Kaiser Family Foundation’s Report, What Worked and What’s Next? Strategies in Four States.  Then, listen to our interview with Dr. Gruber next week on ReachMD, WESU, other stations around the country or online.


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The Affordable Care Act: It Really Is Working.

The following is a guest blog post from Stefan Kostolitz, Outreach and Eligibility Associate:

Connecticut’s first open enrollment period for health insurance closed a little over four months ago, at the end of March.  Since October 1st of last year, 256,666 residents have enrolled in health insurance through our state insurance marketplace, Access Health CT.  Things have since calmed after the hustle and bustle of open enrollment, and Connecticut has taken a look to see how well the state performed since the opening of Access Health CT.  Incredibly, the Nutmeg State nearly halved the number of uninsured patients from 7.9% of the state’s population to 4%.  That means 138,834 Connecticut residents now have health insurance that didn’t before.

Community Health Center’s staff worked tirelessly to educate and enroll patients and community members in insurance with Access Health CT Plans and Husky/Medicaid.  Between October 1st of 2013 and March 31st of this year, CHC’s certified application counselors enrolled 1,709 patients in health insurance.  CHC continues to assist patients with health insurance applications, even outside of open enrollment.  Connecticut residents can still sign up for Husky/Medicaid at any time or buy a plan through Access Health CT if they experience a “qualifying life event.”

When we heard over 200,000 Connecticut residents had signed up for health insurance state-wide, we were overwhelmed by the enormous number of individuals.  To get a better idea of peoples’ experiences, we followed up with some of our patients to share their stories of obtaining coverage.

One patient reported that she was relieved to have Husky/Medicaid insurance.  She was previously on a Medicaid/Husky spenddown, a term used by the Department of Social Services (DSS) for the amount of money someone would have to spend on medical expenses before becoming eligible for insurance.  The patient’s spenddown was $2,600 – a giant sum that would have to be spent on health needs in just 6 months.  Luckily, with the passage of the new health law spend down no longer exists in Connecticut.  The financial limit for Husky/Medicaid for adults aged 19-64 has nearly doubled. Now this patient was able to obtain insurance for help paying for doctor’s visits and much-needed medication.

Another patient reported that she feels excited and less stressed to have health insurance.  Before, stated the patient, she would hesitate to get medical attention in the event of an emergency.  Now, newly covered under Husky, she recently scheduled an appointment at CHC for a check-up and bloodwork.  It is clear to see that the Affordable Care Act, together with our state’s community resources, has provided peace of mind to many of our citizens.  It is only through these individual stories that we can break down a large statistic – over 200,000 enrolled – and see the individual successes within.

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CHC Participates in GE’s 4th Be Healthy Event

The event summary below was written by Community HealthCorps member, Rishonda Thomas who has spent the past year serving within Fairfield County and also participated in yesterday’s event on behalf of The Community Health Center, Inc.

On July 31st, CHC staff members from Danbury and Norwalk went to the Carver Center in Norwalk for the GE sponsored Be Healthy Event. The event was for the Carver’s summer program for elementary school students. CHC staff members conducted sessions on Nutrition and Coping with Stress and Bullying. In the Nutrition station, students participated in a sugar and saturated fat demonstration to teach them about the sugar and fat content of popular soft drinks and foods. The students also played a nutrition game that allowed them to learn about fruits and vegetables. In the Coping with Stress and Bullying station, the students learned about 4 different types of bullying and participated in activities to develop ways to cope with the stress related to bullying.

Below is a blurb written by The Carver Foundation of Norwalk–they shared event updates and photos from yesterday’s festivities on their site. CHC is happy to support this amazing organization in any way: http://carvercenterct.org/?p=1710

The GE Fairfield Hub of the Hispanic Forum and the GE Capital Americas Bank Loan Group produced their fourth annual health education program called Be Healthy for Carver’s campers today! The Be Healthy program addresses wellness priorities in different activity stations: Zumba, calisthentics, yoga, nutrition, stretching, basketball, healthy food, and much more. The Be Healthy program raises awareness about childhood obesity through public engagement and community outreach.

Check out the pictures in the Facebook Album of the event

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Dr. Erica Frank, CEO of NextGenU.org

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Erica Frank the Canada Research Chair in Preventive Medicine and Population Health at the University of British Columbia’s School of Population and Public Health.She is the Founder and CEO of NextGenU.org, the first free online portal to accredited higher education in the health sciences, medical training and public health.

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Conversations on Training the Next Generation

This week on CHC’s radio show, Conversations on Health Care, Co-hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter interview Dr. Erica Frank. She is a Professor at the University of British Columbia’s School of Population and Public Health where she is the Canada Research Chair in Preventive Medicine & Population Health. She is the Founder, President and Research Director at NextGenU.org– the world’s first online portal to free, accredited higher education – in the health sciences as well as other disciplines.

Dr. Frank is scheduled for a much-anticipated TedMed Talk, live in September which will focus on NextGenU.org, the world’s first portal to free, accredited, higher education. Started in 2001, initial data show that NextGenU’s training performs comparably to traditional American medical schooling.

Starting with a focus in the health sciences, NextGenU.org partners with leading universities, professional societies, and government organizations like the U.S. CDC, Grand Challenges Canada, and the World Health Organization. NextGenU.org’s accredited university partners give learners credit for this training (or institutions can adopt them and use them with their students), all for the first time ever for free (and without advertisements).

To listen to this particular interview, or view any of our previous shows, please visit http://www.chcradio.com/ — Show airs all week long on ReachMD Channel on iHeartRadio and TuneIn, Wednesday afternoon at 4:30 PM on WESU-FM as well as other affiliates and airtimes, and all the time at www.chcradio.com

How CHC is Training the Next Generation:

At the Community Health Center, we recognize and support the future leaders of the primary-care movement. We started the first-in-the-nation Nurse Practitioner Residency Program that gives critical clinical experience to NPs when their college education is over. Check out our link at www.npresidency.com.

We offer a Postdoctoral Psychology Residency Program providing comprehensive training in the provision of psychological care to uninsured and underserved populations under the patient-centered medical home model, with a focus on positive client outcomes and building healthy communities. Check out our link at www.chcpostdoc.com.

We nurture students at nearby Wesleyan University in Middletown, working with them in theoretical applications that motivate them to pursue careers in health care. We also support our own employees to improve themselves and their positions by taking advantage of our tuition reimbursement benefit that helps pay for their education as a path to a better job at CHC.

In addition, we recruit National Health Service Corps Scholars and loan recipients who are outstanding students seeking financial aid or looking to repay or forgive outstanding health care debt from their education. Doctors, nurse practitioners, dentists, dental hygienists, social workers and psychologists are all eligible.




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