Celebrating 50 years of Community Health Centers

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

2015 marks the 50th anniversary of community health centers in America. Fifty years of breaking barriers and connecting communities to quality healthcare regardless of insurance or their ability to pay.

Founded by the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, CommonWealth Purchasing Group (CPG) has been helping community health centers fulfill this mission by leveraging the collective buying power of its members to save money on the supplies, services, and equipment bought everyday which ultimately improves patient care. 

Prior to the creation of community health centers, accessible primary and preventative care for low and moderateincome people was nearly impossible to find. Those who could find it often characterized it as sporadic, inefficient and in some cases demeaning. In 1965, Jack Geiger and Count Gibson teamed up with the Johnson Administration to change that paradigm by opening the doors to the nation’s first two community health centers; the Columbia Point Health Center in the Columbia Point section of Dorchester, Massachusetts and the Delta Health Center in Mound Bayou, Mississippi. Widely regarded as a ground-breaking medical home model, Columbia Point Health Center, now part of Harbor Health Services and called Geiger Gibson Community Health Center after the two founding doctors, helped launch a national movement committed to providing locally accessible, affordable and high quality health care to millions of medically underserved individuals and families.

A year after the center’s opened; Geiger and Gibson invited Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy to visit the Dorchester facility. Immediately impressed, Kennedy saw the center as a model that could be replicated across the country. Kennedy then went on to introduce an amendment to the Economic Opportunity Act that allocated $51 million to fund another 30 centers around the country.

CommonWealth Purchasing Group is proud to contribute to the legacy and sustainability of Geiger Gibson Community Health Center and Delta Health Center who are so important to the health center movement. CPG has cumulatively saved Geiger Gibson and Delta Health Center over $1.2 million on medical, dental and office supplies as well as professional services since their inception.

We are honored to have both founding community health centers as long time members of CommonWealth Purchasing Group. As we continue to grow our membership, CPG members will be able to enjoy the benefits of saving money through the collective buying power created by the size of our membership.” -Rick Bryant, Director of CommonWealth Purchasing Group

Today, community health centers serve 22 million patients in over 9,000 locations and continue to contribute significant savings to the entire health care system by eliminating the need for emergency room visits and lengthy hospital stays.

Geiger Gibson and Delta Health continue to grow. Over the course of it’s history, Geiger Gibson has expanded services to include satellite facilities throughout Massachusetts including South Boston, the Neponset area of Dorchester as well as Cape Cod and recently Plymouth.

In 2013, Delta Health broke ground on a new 26,000 square foot facility that will be known as the H. Jack Geiger Medical Center. The state-of-the-art facility will expand the center’s patient capacity while offering diagnostic services such as radiology and a full-service pharmacy.