Health Centers Look Ahead to Impact of President Trump

Greater Lawrence Family Health Center President and CEO John M. Silva.

Many are still reeling from the results of election night, and healthcare providers are no different.

The president and CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers told supporters Thursday morning it’s up to community health centers to help write any new healthcare policy. At Andover Country Club, James W. Hunt Jr. said little is known about the incoming Donald Trump administration’s plans.

“Since he doesn’t have an agenda, that much, for health centers, we can write that agenda, bring it to him, bring it to the Congress of the United States—bring it to the Senate, bring it to the House—bring it to the new HHS (Health and Human Services)—whatever that’s going to be, and we really don’t know. But, he is not set on a path on health centers, and we think that blank slate could create opportunities in our bipartisan way for those isolated rural areas in Montana and Wyoming, those inner-city areas of San Francisco and New York and right here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” Hunt said.

Should Obamacare be repealed, Hunt said, community health centers still play an important role.

“And whether or not Congress makes decisions around changing or replacing, repealing the ACA (Affordable Care Act), we still remain the solution in those communities.”

In fact, Greater Lawrence Family Health Center President and CEO John M. Silva plans to take a healthcare for the homeless program on the road, literally.

“We’re going to be purchasing a van, and we’re going to be outfitting the van as a couple of exam rooms and some basic services. And, we’re going to begin to take healthcare services to the homeless population.” He explained the health center already serves the homeless at 14 different sites throughout the Merrimack Valley.

During the breakfast, sponsored by Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, Hunt said nearly one million residents receive healthcare from 50 community health centers in Massachusetts. Greater Lawrence accounts for 7 percent of those patient numbers, one of the largest community health centers in the state.