Lynn Community Health Center was established as a small storefront mental health clinic in 1971 in response to an almost complete lack of mental health services in our community. Since then, as the needs of our community have grown and changed, we have evolved to meet them.
Today we have more than 550 staff and 130 clinicians who provide primary medical care, dental care, behavioral health, eye care, pharmacy services, and social services to more than 39,000 patients at 20 locations in the City of Lynn.
We moved to our current location at 269 Union Street in 1993. Between 1994 to 2011, LCHC experienced dramatic growth in the number of total health center patient visits—from 62,000 to 190,000 annually. For the past few years, LCHC has consistently seen over 400 new patients every month. In response to this increase in demand, we completed the new Stephen D. Hayes Building in 2012, doubling our existing space. In 2014 we had over 280,000 visits.
This was a time of growing national and local focus on the relationship of poverty and health, which led to the development of new federal programs that included Medicaid, Medicare, Head Start, Neighborhood Legal Services, Food Stamps, and Community Health Centers. The first community health center was founded in 1965 at Columbia Point in Boston.
Lynn Community Health Center opened its doors in the fall of 1971 as a small storefront mental health and counseling center on Chestnut Street. Three years later we moved to a house on Goldfish Pond and began offering medical services. in 1977 we also became the provider of WIC (Women Infants and Children) services in Lynn.
New services in the 1980’s included OB/GYN, outreach services in the Lynn schools, and services to Southeast Asian patients. WIC expanded to Salem, Peabody, and Cape Ann.
In 1993 we moved to our current location at 269 Union Street, Lynn. We continued to experience growth in our third decade, with new services that included HIV/AIDS, School-Based Health Centers, Tobacco Cessation Counseling, Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), Reach Out & Read, and a Walk-in Primary Care Clinic.
New services in this period included the expansion of School-based Health Centers, Pharmacy Services, a Dental Clinic, an Eye Clinic, Specialty Services, Radiology, and expanded HIV Services. In 2000 we were accredited by the Joint Commission for the first time. We continued to grow. In 2003 we expanded our services by opening two satellite practices in West Lynn. We were among the first community health centers to implement an Electronic Health Record in 2005.
In 2010 we broke ground on a new three-story expansion facility that has enabled us to increase our capacity to provide needed primary care, behavioral health, and dental services for our community. We launched several new initiatives to improve the quality of care for our patients, including a patient-centered medical home initiative and an integrated care program. In 2012 we were certified by the Joint Commission as a Primary Care Medical Home and by the National Committee for Quality Assurance as a Level 2 Patient Centered Medical Home.