Lifting the barriers to care for all individuals, regardless of ability to pay, is a core focus of CCHI's work in the communities and neighborhoods we serve. But even when financial barriers are removed, additional barriers can prevent people from seeking and receiving care. To provide high quality, timely, comprehensive health care to all MGH populations, additional social, cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic barriers must be overcome. This is precisely the goal of many CCHI programs. These programs:

  • Bring care to vulnerable populations where they are rather than waiting for people to come to the hospital. Boston Health Care for the Homeless at Mass General provides care right on the streets as well as in the clinic, so that homeless people see the same doctor in the hospital as they met on the streets, increasing the likelihood that they will follow up with care.
  • Address cultural and linguistic barriers to care. The Immigrant and Refugee Health Program in Chelsea provides health assessments for refugees, in their own language, identifying basic health needs as well as more complex mental health needs resulting from conditions like extreme poverty or war. The program also assists new arrivals with a range of social service, housing, and other needs to help families through the resettlement process. Mindful of a complex U.S. medical system, immigrants and refugees are taught how to navigate the system and manage their own care.
  • Assist patients in navigating the complex health care system. This complex system is even more elusive to people with limited English proficiency or people who are completely new to American culture. In the highly diverse community of Chelsea, our cancer navigators work with patients to identify and overcome barriers to screening and follow-up care, such as language barriers or day-to-day challenges in scheduling or transportation.  The results: increased cancer screening and improved follow-up rates, and decreased racial and ethnic disparities in colorectal, cervical, and breast care.

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