Healthy growth: CHP expanding services, adding dental care

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PITTSFIELD >> Community Health Programs is broadening the footprint of medical care in Pittsfield, and it wants the community to know about it.

The federally funded nonprofit health organization, based in Great Barrington, has been expanding northward throughout Berkshire County, with clinics in Adams, North Adams, Lee and Pittsfield.

In the latest foray, CHP will be opening a dental residency at its growing Neighborhood Health Center at 510 North St.

"We'll be up and operating by the second week of October," said Lia Spiliotes, CEO of Community Health Programs.

Mayor Linda Tyer and a handful of city councilors recently got an informational tour of the center. Staffed with two physicians and two nurse practitioners, it currently offers primary care as well as women's health, pregnancy, vision, behavioral health care and physical therapy.

Since CHP took over the Neighborhood Health from Berkshire Health Systems in 2007, it has grown from a small clinic to a full-service primary care provider with diverse resources. It serves 4,000 patients — or about 14.000 visits per year — and employs 30 people.

Countywide, CHP serves about 20,000 patients throughout their seven health centers, totaling about 60,000 visits per year. It currently employs around 150 employees and 40 front-line providers and is growing quickly.

The facility also is working with the BHS residency program and serves as a teaching facility. The 35 residents of the BHS program also spend time at the center providing care, greatly expanding the volume of patients the center can handle.

"I was impressed to learn of the quality and depth of care being provided in Pittsfield by Community Health Programs," said Mayor Linda Tyer in a statement. "We welcome new citizens and new neighbors who need access to health care, this is an option for them. Young professionals have difficulty finding physicians who are accepting new patients."

In addition to Tyer, City Council President Peter Marchetti, and councilors Peter White and Lisa Tully also attended the tour.

Spiliotes said there will be an official opening for the dental program in that second week of October, at a date to be determined.

"Right now, we're trying to get the word out," she said. "We're doing so much more these days, and I'm not sure people in the county know about all the things we're about."

She said that the present plan is to add a Dental Hygienist position when the Dental Residency office eventually opens.

Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.


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