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Hilltown Voices: Hilltown Community Health Centers wins award for patient care

  • Hilltown Community Health Centers Executive Director Eliza Lake talks about the opening of the new John P. Musante Health Center in the Bangs Center in the waiting room of the facility on June 7, 2018. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

For the Gazette
Published: 1/10/2020 11:05:35 AM
Modified: 1/10/2020 11:04:55 AM
Hilltown Community Health Centers Wins Patient Experience Award

Hilltown Community Health Centers, Inc. has received an award from Massachusetts Health Quality Partners (MHQP) for being one of the top practices in the state for patient experience in primary care.

“Primary care is the heart of health care in Massachusetts,” said MHQP’s President and CEO Barbra Rabson. “The practices recognized with these awards have distinguished themselves where it matters most — in the experiences of their own patients.”

The MHQP Patient Experience Awards is an annual awards program created in 2019 by Massachusetts Health Quality Partners, a nonprofit measurement and reporting organization that brings together providers, health plans and patients to improve the quality of patient care experiences.

The agency conducts the only statewide survey of patient experience in primary care, with feedback from over 60,000 commercially-insured patients across the state.

Awards were given to top overall performers in adult primary care and pediatrics, as well as to the highest performers from each group in nine performance categories.

Hilltown Community Health Centers received recognition for Distinction in Empowering Patient Self Care, which acknowledges their providers’ consistent efforts to learn about and support patients’ health goals.

It is the only community health center in Western Mass to win an adult practice award.

“I applaud the hard work and commitment of our providers, who recognize that the patients’ own health goals are critically important to their achieving good health,” said Hilltown Community Health Centers  Chief Executive Officer Eliza Lake.

Hilltown Community Health Center is a federally qualified community health center with sites in Worthington, Huntington and Amherst. It offers dental, behavioral health and optometry services, as well as a wide range of community programs, to individuals and families from over 100 towns in Western Mass.

“As a federally qualified community health center, HCHC’s mission is to offer all possible services that will meet the needs of our patients and the community,” Lake said.

Rabson said she was  “thrilled” to congratulate the award recipients for their “commitment to excellence and best-in-class patient experiences.”

Hilltown Childcare subsidy program

CHESTERFIELD — It Takes a Village, a local nonprofit organization, has taken over the administration of the Hilltown Childcare Subsidy Program, previously overseen by the Hilltown Community Development Corporation.

This is a special program for low- and moderate-income families in the Hilltowns that’s designed to help with the high costs of day care, preschool, and before and after school care.

“It’s a perfect fit,” said It Takes a Village Development Director Mollie Hartford. “We often interact with families before the baby is born, when they’re still planning for their child care needs. We can connect them directly with this program.”

It Takes a Village provides free postpartum support to families in western Massachusetts, including home visits for families with newborns; parent support groups and workshops; and The Village Closet, a donation and distribution center of free maternity, infant and children’s clothing and supplies.

The Hilltown Childcare Subsidy Program is funded by a Community Development Block Grant from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development and provided to the Town of Chesterfield.

Families living in Chesterfield, Cummington, Goshen, Plainfield, Peru, Worthington or Williamsburg could be eligible for a subsidy to help cover all or most of the cost of child care for children five years old and younger. To qualify, parents or guardians must be working or in a vocational or educational program during child care hours.

Families can choose any child care facility or program they wish in any town, as long as it is licensed through the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care.

“That’s what is so special about this program,” Hartford said. “Families can choose a care provider that is near their home or work and that fits their schedule.”

This year, the program also covers before and after school programs.

To view the guidelines, the list of required documentation and to apply, families can visit or call 413-650-3640.

Aging Gracefully

CUMMINGTON — Aging Gracefully in the Hilltowns is a community discussion group sponsored by the Council On Aging. Topics focus on living fully, how to age gracefully, befriending death and more.

This is an opportunity to share challenges and solutions as well as hopes and fears about aging well and embracing life along the way.

From the practical or philosophical to the sad or comical, all of the good, bad and ugly aspects of aging are up for discussion.

The group is always open to new members and meets at the Cummington Community House on Main Street on the second Tuesday of each month from 1 to 3 p.m.

For more information, contact Wynne or Lucy at 413-634-5576. 

Ideas for this column on life in the Hilltowns can be sent to Fran Ryan at

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