Today, Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Malden), dean of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, released the following statement on the May 9, 2011 groundbreaking of the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center:
"Today, we remember the dream that our beloved Senator Ted Kennedy had of bringing quality health care to millions of people, and we celebrate the reality he created to make health care reform in the United States a right and not a privilege," said Rep. Markey.
"More than anyone, Senator Kennedy understood that a community health center is a place that always keeps the door open to underserved populations, welcoming all who seek medical care for themselves and their families. This new center, which will bear the name of health care's greatest champion, serves as a place where all Framingham area residents can come to seek exceptional and unparalleled medical service."
The groundbreaking of the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center marks an expansion of the community health services already provided in Framingham by combining two existing sites that have become overcrowded. The 44 person health center staff, many of whom are bilingual and even trilingual, will serve nearly 4,000 Framingham area residents each year.
A longtime advocate of community health centers, Rep. Markey was a strong supporter of the landmark health care reform law passed in March of 2010 that helped to secure $400 million in new federal funding for the expansion of community health centers. Rep. Markey also played a critical role in obtaining a federal grant for the funding of the original site of the Framingham Community Health Center that opened its doors in 2004. Since it's opening, the Framingham Community Health Center has served a primarily low to moderate income population, seventy percent of whom live in Framingham. The Center has focused its services on preventive and innovative care, including high quality health services such as infant screenings, immunizations, and cancer screenings.
"Community health centers fill critical gaps in the delivery of quality health care to individuals and families who would otherwise be unable to afford such first-rate services," said Rep. Markey. "I am pleased that the Kennedy Community Health Center will serve as a beacon of superior medical care in downtown Framingham and for all of Massachusetts."