Partner Spotlight Series: Community Healthcare Network Partner Spotlight Series: Community Healthcare Network

Partner Spotlight Detail

Partner Spotlight Series: Community Healthcare Network

Photo Courtesy of Community Healthcare Network

As we transition from DY2 to DY3, Mount Sinai PPS partner, Community Healthcare Network demonstrates innovation in our journey towards improved clinical performance.

Community Healthcare Network (CHN) is a joint-commission accredited, PCMH Level 3, not-for-profit organization that provides access to affordable, culturally-competent and comprehensive community-based primary care, dental, nutrition, mental health and social services annually to more than 85,000 individuals throughout New York City. Many of these men, women, and children would otherwise have little or no access to critical health care.   

Community Healthcare Network’s integrative and collaborative approach started in the 1960’s, when a number of storefront clinics in New York City began offering family planning services. In 1981, these clinics merged to strengthen management and administration of the community-based health care centers, forming the Community Family Planning Council. In 1998, the name changed to Community Healthcare Network to better reflect the comprehensive array of services that were provided at the time. In recent years, CHN has expanded further to offer integrated behavioral health care, wellness services, HIV and Transgender care, and other services to meet the needs of the diverse patient base. 

Collaboration Among Partners in MSPPS

Photo Courtesy of Community Healthcare Network

Today, CHN’s collaborative approach in healthcare continues, as demonstrated by its extensive involvement with the Mount Sinai PPS. In fact, CHN Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Matthew Weissman, hopes that the work of the MSPPS will ultimately improve the patient experience.

“If I only have the opportunity to be with a patient in the office for 15 minutes, three times a year, that’s still a lot of time where they need to handle their issues on their own. Being able to partner with organizations within a functioning PPS providing health home care management, emergency care, and other types of resources to support the patient, could improve their health and their lives.”

Dr. Weissman co-chairs the MSPPS Clinical Quality Committee, which gives him a chance to speak and connect with health care colleagues in the community. Recently, he spoke with a cardiologist, endocrinologist, a nutritionist, and an MSPPS Project Manager to discuss how to improve care for patients with hypertension. “This is what I’m in this for. The fact that we have an opportunity to get our patients access to needed specialty care is long overdue,” said Dr. Weissman. 

CHN Programs that Put Patients First

At CHN, patient experience is the number one priority. The organization continues to operate one of the most robust Health Literacy programs in the country. The Health Literacy department works to ensure that every patient understands all communications – from provider instructions to marketing materials. To do this, all of CHN’s nearly 800 employees are trained in using plain language, and techniques, such as the teach-back method, where providers are taught to pause and ask patients to repeat information back to them.

In 2015, CHN launched the first Nurse Practitioner (NP) Fellowship program in New York State. In 2016, the program expanded from four to 10 primary care fellows, and kicked-off New York State’s first Psychiatric Community Health Fellowship. The fellowship provides recent graduates with an opportunity to broaden their scope of educational experience, and includes treating patients with chronic conditions, rotations around NYC in inpatient and outpatient specialty areas, didactic presentations on best practices, and a clinic for primary care procedures.  “We’re taking the best of the best who recognize what they don’t know and training them to provide high--quality care,” said Dr. Weissman. 

In 2015, CHN opened its doors to the Seward Park Health Center, located in the Seward Park School Campus in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Earlier this year, they opened a second location -- the Phoenix Health Center, located in Community Health Academy of the Heights School in Washington Heights. Operating under the CHN umbrella, these school based health centers provide comprehensive medical and mental health care to middle and high school students. The goal is to make health care accessible to students so they will not have to miss a day of school to visit a provider. Necessary services for students include physicals to suit up for sports or strep testing when they have a sore throat during the school day. In the future, CHN hopes for increased collaboration among PPS partners to increase its services and involvement within different communities. 

Photo Courtesy of Community Healthcare Network

Coordinating Better Care with PPS Partners

CHN hopes that collaborations with other network partners will provide opportunities to improve care coordination for patients. Dr. Weissman notes that it has been challenging to receive access to a patient’s records, limiting the provider’s ability to make decisions based on the full scope of a patient’s health care history. Unfortunately, this can result in repeated testing and/or a lack of communication between previous and current providers. Partnering within MSPPS offers the promise that organizations will come together to discuss solutions to such challenges.

For more information on Community Healthcare Network, please visit their website at