Best Places to Work Honoree 2022

Organization Name: Community Health Center of Cape Cod (CHC)
Address: 107 Commercial Street Mashpee, MA 02649
Phone: (508) 477-7090
Contact Email:
Describe in detail the culture of the company and a recent experience supporting that.

The amazing staff of the Community Health Center of Cape Cod (CHC) are united and empowered by the organization’s mission, vision, and values. The mission is to improve the health of our community through the provision of comprehensive, high-quality, compassionate health care for all, regardless of ability to pay. Each day staff works with our ultimate vision in mind to be a health care home of choice, reflecting community needs and empowering individuals toward lifelong wellness.
Our organization takes great pride in being grounded by the voices of our customers and integrating of services available. This begins with our Board of Directors as nearly two-thirds are patients of the health center. Annual staff satisfaction surveys reflect the organization’s positive culture and united mission. In each of the last two surveys, staff expressed an overwhelming 95%+ identification with the mission and promoter score. Most recently, leadership engaged an external firm to conduct an Organizational Cultural Assessment Survey, and results confirmed higher than historical and industry average scores in employees' articulation of our mission as well as a customer-service focus. Inter-department teamwork and coordination were also given high scores

Has the company/organization offered rewards or incentives for great customer service or a positive employee attitude?
CHC leadership and employees have proudly participated in our organization’s “Star Quality Awards” program for the last several years. Each quarter, individuals, departments, and teams are nominated, selected, and recognized for outstanding contributions individually and/or collectively in support of CHC’s mission, vision, and values, which include positivity and “star quality” patient service. Award nominations may come from direct supervisors, other leadership, and/or peers. Examples of star quality awards (taken directly from the organizational policy) are: “ 1) Taking the extra initiative to assist a patient, family, fellow department or staff member; 2)Volunteer participation in CHC committees and activities outside of work responsibilities; 3) Innovation or meaningful contribution targeting improving health center operations that impact positive patient experience; 4) Exceptional team building activity or contribution to positive morale; 5) Any other notable actions that embody the health Center mission, vision, and values and exhibit “above and beyond” STAR quality performance.” Over the last year alone, 70 individuals have been recognized and awarded over $4,000 in gift certificates, lunches, or other recognitions.
Does the organization offer training for levels of advancement? Is there room for growth?
CHC prides itself in providing opportunities for staff growth and advancement. This includes providing internal growth opportunities, announcing vacancies internally before opening to the general community, providing modest tuition assistance, continuing medical education opportunities, and “in-house” training programs in a number of career specialties, including dental and medical assisting, optometry and pharmacy technician training and more. In addition, support positions such as medical and dental assistants, patient access (reception) staff, and clinical administrative support positions have written career pathways for growth. CHC has partnered with a number of academic organizations to provide training and complement the “on-the-job training” experience, including Cape Cod Community College, TUFTS University, Boston College, Bridgewater University, Northeastern University, and Upper Cape Tech. These relationships have not only provided our staff an opportunity to grow and participate more fully in their career but have served to attract and retain new staff members to our community. Over the last year, 9 current employees have participated in the training which has advanced their position/pay.
Does this organization promote from within, or hire outside when looking for employees?
CHC recognizes the importance and value of both attracting and retaining exceptional staff. A strategic and critical component of this is recognizing the potential in employees, mentoring, and providing opportunities for growth. As a general rule, for most positions, CHC seeks first to hire from within and advertises open positions internally, before releasing them externally. Over the last year alone, several staff members have been promoted to advanced positions. Examples include a staff registered nurse to transitions of care management, a Patient Access (I) receptionist to a clinical administrator, medical assistant to optometry technician, staff physician assistant to Team Leader, and many promotions within an individual’s current position. Overall, internal promotions and wage adjustments have resulted in a substantial increase in staff annual wages and a staff turnover rate near 11% less than half the rate experienced in the health care industry regionally and nationally.
Provide an example of how this organization has recently gone above and beyond for an employee, team or client/customer.

The last two years have been particularly challenging for staff and patients alike. Even at the height of the Pandemic, when other organizations were closed, the Community Health Center of Cape Cod remained open and accessible for all in need. While the organization was fully operational, we prioritized staff resilience, wellness, and morale. This included providing funds for staff and patient transportation, childcare, and food. Patient care staff who were not able to work remotely were sometimes challenged with loss of income due to spouse or other household members' unemployment. Funds were made available on an as-needed basis (up to $500 each) to help with expenses. In addition, through the generosity of others, we were able to provide “Covid pay/bonuses”, deliver meals, and provide just-in-time support based on individual circumstances. Our experience during this time has led the health center to re-evaluate our policies, procedures, and practices. Earlier this year, the Board of Directors approved and funded a staff Special Assistance Fund whereby individuals could “apply” for financial assistance once per year in times of need.

Finally, CHC consistently goes above and beyond for the patients we serve. In addition to providing transportation assistance, food, and housing vouchers (which we honestly view as part of our mission), the staff “meets patients where they are”. Over the last months, this has been delivering care, testing, and vaccines in the home, in places of worship, and in other convenient locations outside the health center. Staff will also go above and beyond to identify any barriers a patient may be experiencing.

Communication is key, how effective is the organization at communication with their employees and/or client/customer? *
Transparent, effective, and responsive communications are integral to CHC’s strategic and operational plans. This is demonstrated through a number of written and in-person communication platforms including 1) a weekly “Peek at the Week” publication; 2) monthly staff newsletter building awareness of organizational progress in relation to goals, celebrating milestones, providing education regarding current health issues; 3) monthly department and team meetings (once per month between 2 and 4 hours depending on the topics). This time allows teams and departments to meet to review workflows, quality, and satisfaction data and discuss initiatives that may impact the department/team/organization; 4) monthly “CHC Connect” (town hall). A newly implemented opportunity for the CEO to share information, celebrate organizational success, and answer questions openly for all staff; 5) Semi-annual all-staff meeting and recognition ceremony. This meeting time focuses on training and education which is important across the organization (ie. Cultural sensitivity, motivational interviewing, infection control, handling disruptive situations, etc.; 6) monthly “coffee with Karen(CEO)” open, informal conversation for Board members and leadership to simply “catch up” in-between Board meetings; 7) staff huddles and Gemba Walks. These brief meetings (15 minutes or less) aid in firsthand learning about successes and/or obstacles impacting individuals in the workplace and/or helping to organize and prepare for the day ahead; 8) multiple additional opportunities for suggestions, including the Star Quality Program, suggest boxes, etc.
In what ways does the organization give back to their community? Please provide an example.

The leadership and staff of CHC like to think that in the daily focus and fulfillment of the mission, vision, goals, and objectives, we are truly improving the health of our community. We see this through assisting individuals in enrolling for health insurance, and advancing health outcomes for chronic health conditions most prevalent in our region, particularly diabetes, hypertension, mental health, and substance use disorders. One example is our integrated programing in diabetes management has led to CHC being rated #1 among all centers in Massachusetts relative to patient control of their diabetes (a hemoglobin AIC less than 7). In addition, CHC has been recognized several years in a row for performing at the top quartile, or top 10% of health centers nationwide. While quality and patient satisfaction have remained consistently high, we are also reducing the cost of health care for our patients. Recently, CHC was recognized as having the lowest cost per patient visit of any health center in Massachusetts.

Beyond the areas mentioned above, our leadership and staff value additional contributions to the community. We are the # 1 largest employer in Mashpee and work closely with our local schools to provide “ career days” and shadow opportunities to introduce students to careers in healthcare. In times of need, such as the pandemic, CHC provided supplies and services outside the walls of the health center and into the community and participates in a number of community based, non profit organizations.

Are you actively hiring/recruiting outside your organization?