SOURCE: Community Health Center, Inc.

Community Health Center, Inc.

August 12, 2015 12:23 ET

$274,422 Grant From CHEFA Will Increase Access to Mental Health Services for Children and Adolescents

MIDDLETOWN, CT--(Marketwired - August 12, 2015) - Community Health Center, Inc. (CHC), Connecticut's largest primary care provider for special populations, headquartered in Middletown, CT, announced today that it has received grant funding in the amount of $274,422 from Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority (CHEFA) to launch Project Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (Project ECHO™) Behavioral Health(Project ECHO/BH) in its school-based clinics. This project, which is being administered by CHC's Weitzman Institute, is designed to address inequities in behavioral health care for children and adolescents by increasing access to high quality care within their schools.

Project ECHO/BH is modeled on successful nationwide Project ECHO™ programs that have improved outcomes for patients with complex medical and behavioral health conditions by linking primary care providers with expert specialists through videoconferencing consultative sessions.

The project has three primary goals: to increase the knowledge and confidence of medical and behavioral health providers in school-based clinics in the evidence-based treatment of children and adolescents with behavioral health diagnoses; to increase collaboration among behavioral and medical providers, and the families of children and adolescents with behavioral health diagnoses; and to improve clinical and academic outcomes for the children and adolescents being treated by the participating providers.

"We are thrilled to receive support from CHEFA to help expand access to high quality behavioral health care for our children. School based health centers are a critical source of care for CHC's pediatric patients," explained Dr. Daren Anderson, VP/Chief Quality Officer for CHC and Director of the Weitzman Institute. "Project ECHO is an innovative new telehealth tool we've been pioneering at CHC, and we are excited to extend it to support our school based health centers."

Jeanette Weldon, CHEFA's executive director congratulated CHC on the receipt of one of only two grants awarded through the highly competitive Targeted Investment Program this year, adding, "CHEFA is proud to provide support for this program that uses innovative technology to provide critical increased access to treatment and better outcomes for children throughout Connecticut."

Project ECHO/BH will enroll 100 primary care and behavioral health providers, serving 5,000+ children in rural and underserved regions across the state, where access to mental health services is limited. In 2013, mental disorders were the leading cause of hospitalization in Connecticut 5-14 year olds, with 1,011 and 1,068 admissions to the hospital per 100,000 for males and females, respectively.

"CHC is proud to be the largest provider of school-based health services in the state for the last 20 years. These centers are a critical part of our work, because they allow us to reach more children and adolescents and ensure access to the highest quality of care during their formative years," said Mark Masselli, President/CEO of CHC. "We are grateful for our partners -- UCONN School of Medicine Child and Adolescent Division, who is providing the expert staff; Connecticut Association of School-Based Health Centers, and the CT Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics -- who will play a major role in the success of this project."

Currently in planning and development stages, Project ECHO/BH is slated to kick-off in January 2016. The grant funding will allow CHC to conduct the Project ECHO/BH intervention over two years.

About Community Health Center, Inc.
Since 1972, Community Health Center, Inc. has been one of the leading healthcare providers in the state of Connecticut, building a world-class primary health care system committed to caring for uninsured and underserved populations. CHC is focused on improving health outcomes for its more than 130,000 patients as well as building healthy communities. Recognized as both a Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home by the National Committee for Quality Assurance and a Primary Care Medical Home by The Joint Commission, CHC delivers service in more than 200 locations statewide, offering primary care in medical, dental and behavioral health services. For more information, visit

About The Weitzman Institute
The Weitzman Institute is the first community-based research center established by a Federally Qualified Health Center, dedicated to quality improvement and research in primary care for the underserved. The Institute tests promising innovations in primary care delivery and establishes research priorities for Community Health Center, Inc. (CHC). For more information about Weitzman Institute visit

About The Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority
The Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority (CHEFA) is a quasi-public agency created by the State Legislature to help Connecticut healthcare and educational institutions, and other not-for-profit entities obtain tax exempt financing. CHEFA is self-sustaining and receives no taxpayer funds. For more information about CHEFA, visit

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Contact Information

  • Eliza Cole
    (860) 852-0826 (office) or (860) 262-2546 (cell)