Because not everyone in Cambridge, Massachusetts can walk into student health centers, there is the Cambridge Public Health Commission (doing business as Cambridge Health Alliance or CHA). The health care system operates the Cambridge Public Health Department and three hospitals: Cambridge Hospital, Somerville Hospital, and Whidden Hospital with a combined total of 494 beds. It also operates a managed care health plan and 15 primary care practices specializing in such areas as pediatrics, gerontology, family medicine, psychiatry, and dentistry. CHA is a teaching affiliate of Harvard's Medical School and School of Public Health, and Tufts University's School of Medicine.
The commission puts a high priority on education, both for medical professionals and consumers. It organizes several community action programs, including its Volunteer Health Advisor program, which distributes educational health information to the general public.
In response to severe state budget cuts made in 2009, during 2010 CHA made a slew of changes to its service offerings. It closed a handful of primary and specialty care practices and pyschiatric programs. It also reconfigured its use of Somerville Hospital: it expanded its emergency, primary, and outpatient specialty care services, and shifted more of CHA's administrative operations into the facility. Though CHA received roughly $40 million from the federal recovery act to help alleviate some of its financial constraints, it still has been operating in the red.
To free up resources to invest in its hospitals, CHA sold its managed care health plan, Network Health, to Tufts Associated Health Plans in late 2011. At the time of the transaction, Network Health served some 180,000 residents throughout Massachusetts.
CHA was established as a result of the 1996 merger of The Cambridge Hospital and Somerville Hospital. Dennis Keefe has served as its CEO since 2002. – less