A Socially Accountable Healthcare System
Cambridge Health Alliance is a socially accountable health system, dedicated to addressing the priority health needs of its communities through its service, education, research and advocacy. CHA’s mission statement – “to improve the health of our communities”–speaks of this social accountability. We aspire to reduce suffering caused by disease. Yet, in addition to treating illness, we seek to prevent disease and to improve health and well-being. We seek to attend to social determinants of health by engaging with community partners, not just with individuals. In proclaiming our motto, “we care for all,” we embrace patients and communities that are especially vulnerable – those who suffer from economic and social deprivation, mental illness and addiction, racism and traumatic experiences. Immigrants, including those seeking asylum, comprise nearly a majority of our patients.
As a highly integrated community-oriented health system, we meld primary care practice with public health. The organization’s CEO serves as the Commissioner of Health for the City of Cambridge. We work closely with governmental agencies and community organizations in a half-dozen cities north of Boston.
CHA serves as a portal to the best of health care in the world. We offer primary care at a dozen health centers spread throughout the region as well as in high schools, nursing homes, shelters and homes. Primary care clinicians with training in Family Medicine, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics work and teach side-by-side with behavioral health and allied health practitioners at many of these settings.
Behavioral health care is a “center of excellence” at CHA, extensively programmed in community settings, health centers and hospital units for children, adults and elders. We provide secondary hospital care at our Cambridge and Everett Hospital campuses and specialty care at many convenient settings. Finally, we engage our patients in tertiary and quaternary care at our affiliates – Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for adults and Massachusetts General Hospital for pediatric care.
CHA seeks to serve as an international model. We advocate for policies that support equitable care for all and test organizational structures that facilitate community care and collaborative person-centered caring. CHA embraces the WHO’s Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health, which aspires toward “universal health coverage with safe, effective, person-centered health services by 2030.”