Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation awards $15,000 to expand cancer screenings

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation Awards $15,000 to Greater Seacoast Community Health to Expand Cancer Screenings

MANCHESTER, N.H. — As part of its commitment to increasing access to preventative care for consumers, the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation has awarded a grant of $15,000 to Greater Seacoast Community Health to support the organization’s cancer-screening services. The grant will supplement the organization’s ongoing efforts to make sure uninsured or underinsured individuals have access to screenings for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer, from its locations at Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth and Families First Health Center in Portsmouth.

“When people lack financial resources, some of the first things they tend to forgo are preventive screenings like colonoscopies, mammograms and Pap tests,” said Janet Laatsch, CEO of Greater Seacoast Community Health. “This grant from Anthem helps us remove barriers that keep people from having access to these life-saving tests.”

“Creating greater access to care, including preventative care, is an essential component of what we do every day at Anthem. That’s because regular screenings for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer lead to early detection, which saves lives,” said Lisa Guertin, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire. “We’re very proud that our Foundation’s support for Greater Seacoast Community Health allows for expanded access to these critical screenings, helping more people in the community get the care they need.”

Greater Seacoast Community Health was created in January 2018 through the merger of Goodwin Community Health, in Somersworth, and Families First Health and Support Center, in Portsmouth. The organization is one of New Hampshire’s largest community health centers, serving about 16,000 local adults and children, many of them uninsured, underinsured or lacking access to affordable, quality health care.

Since 2006, the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation has awarded Greater Seacoast Community Health (and previously Families First Health and Support Center) more than $65,000 to support the organization’s prenatal and primary care programs.

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About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation

Through charitable grant making, the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation LLC, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, promotes Anthem’s inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield serves. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long-term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Associate Giving program and its parent foundation provides a 50 percent match of associates’ pledges. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

About Greater Seacoast Community Health

Greater Seacoast Community Health includes Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth, Families First Health & Support Center in Portsmouth, and Lilac Pediatrics in Rochester. The organization provides primary care for people of all ages, dental care, prenatal care, counseling, substance misuse treatment and recovery services, parenting classes, family programs, home visiting, and mobile health services for people experiencing homelessness. Services are open to all in the Greater Seacoast region (Eastern Rockingham County, Strafford County and southern Maine), regardless of ability to pay or insurance status. For more information, visit and

SOS Recovery Community Organization becomes first Recovery Community Organization in the United States to receive an exemplary accreditation

SOS Recovery Community Organization (SOS RCO) is pleased to announce they are the first Recovery Community Organization (RCO) in the United States to receive an “exemplary” level of accreditation from the Council on Accreditation of Peer Recovery Support Services.  SOS RCO is the tenth RCO in the country to achieve accreditation and the second in NH.  Until now, no other RCO has received the CAPRSS designation of “exemplary” which is the highest possible level and includes a 5 year accreditation.

SOS Recovery Community Organization is a peer led recovery community organization with two recovery community centers.  SOS opened the first recovery community center in Rochester at 63 S. Main St in August of 2016 and they opened a  second one in Dover at 4 Broadway opened in April of 2017. SOS RCO provides a variety of peer recovery supports including meetings, peer recovery support services such as recovery coaching and telephone recovery supports, crisis navigation and a variety of activities such as yoga, art in recovery, music in recovery, and social activities.

The Council on Accreditation of Peer Recovery Support Services (CAPRSS) is the only accrediting body in the US for recovery community organizations (RCOs) and other programs offering addiction peer recovery support services (PRSS). The CAPRSS accreditation review consists of self review, peer review and committee review. Combined, these help to ensure that accredited organizations will have institutional integrity (clear purposes, high levels of integrity, fiscal stability, systems to fulfill its purposes), PRSS effectiveness (clear and appropriate objectives & design, process of review, collection and use of data that ensure environment for recovery), and sufficient capacity to sustain quality over time.

According to John Burns, Director of SOS RCO, “We are both humbled and thrilled to be the first recovery community organization in the nation to receive an exemplary accreditation.  This accreditation is a process that took well over a year of preparation and hard work and demonstrates to our community the integrity and the impact of our organization.  It is a testament to the community we are surrounded by and the input they’ve provided in building this resource and our commitment to being community driven.  This accreditation belongs to all our members, volunteers and staff as it’s been an exhausting, yet tremendously rewarding collective effort that’s being recognized by CAPRSS.”

CAPRSS offers a recovery-oriented accreditation program that:

  • helps emerging and established RCOs and peer programs to build capacity;
  • improves the performance of organizations and programs providing peer services by setting and measuring the achievement of standards; and
  • increases accountability of peer services providers to funders, the public, and the field.
  • CAPRSS is the culmination of years of work by recovery community advocates and allies, who work every day to secure, promote and provide pathways to long-term recovery for millions of Americans, their families and their communities.

To support this process, the CAPRSS standards focus on four areas:

Principles: Elements that are often seen as intangible—principles, culture, and climate—and yet are known to have a significant impact on organizational success.

People: People are the heart of peer recovery support services program; this area helps PRSS programs to examine how peer leaders and peer supervisors are recruited, oriented, trained, supervised, and developed, and policies needed to ensure a good environment for all staff—volunteer and paid.

Practices: Organizational practices that are critical for organizational stability and success.

Performance: Capacities that programs have to help people achieve and maintain recovery.

There are 30 core standards within these four focus areas and four levels of outcomes that include: non-accreditation, provisional accreditation, standard accreditation and exemplary accreditation.  To receive an exemplary accreditation an RCO must exceed standards in at least 25 of the 30 core standards.  (Standards Attached)

The mission of SOS RCO is to reduce stigma and harm associated with substance use and misuse by providing safe space and peer-based supports for people in all stages of recovery.  The vision of SOS is one that envisions a world where recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs is possible and widely embraced through low-barrier access to inclusive and respectful support, and where all who seek long-term recovery have access to the care and resources they need to achieve their self-defined goals. SOS RCO is a program of Goodwin Community Health, a non-profit 501c3, federally qualified health center based in Somersworth NH.  Goodwin Community Health has been consistently delivering affordable, high quality care and services for nearly 50 years in Strafford County and serves over 9000 patients with over 32000 visits each year in Somersworth.

Health screenings for low-income women available

This article was written by Karen Dandurant and published by Seacoast Online. The Full article can be found here.

Health screenings for low-income women available
The Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, offered at both Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth and Families First in Portsmouth, makes OB/GYN physicals, cervical cancer screenings, breast exams and mammograms accessible to uninsured women ages 21-64. You do not need to be a patient; this service is open to all women in the Greater Seacoast area who qualify.

Jeni Beaulieu coordinates the Breast and Cervical Cancer program for Greater Seacoast Community Health, which includes both Families First and Goodwin Community Heath.

“I assist woman in getting enrolled in the BCCP program and navigating and coordinating care between primary care and specialist offices,” said Beaulieu. “Women have lots of questions and fears about breast and cervical screenings, testings and procedures as well as questions and fears about costs and insurance coverage. I’m here to make it less complicated and remove the fear and worry so the path to care is much easier. That’s what I call ‘patient navigation.’ Other things can be a barrier to care for low income women, too. Things like transportation or difficulties in getting multiple appointments scheduled can be overwhelming when you’re scared about something like a breast lump. I try to jump in and remove these obstacles, so the person is more likely to complete the care cycle.”

Beaulieu said the agencies served about 450 women in 2017. Transgender people are eligible to apply for BCCP services.

“The people who are enrolled in BCCP are either uninsured or underinsured and would be unlikely to get or complete diagnostic testing due to cost and other barriers,” said Beaulieu. “We have a growing immigrant population that is in need of services that may not qualify for other traditional routes of assistance that we can care for here.”

One woman, Janice Silver of the Seacoast area, says that the BCCP program likely saved her life.

“I was diagnosed when I was 41,” said Silver. “I am now 58. I have carpal tunnel and some sensation loss in my fingers, so when I felt a lump, I was not sure. I am still undergoing treatment because after winning against this disease a few times, I was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer in June. Sixteen-years later, I am still dealing with this.”

Silver received numerous treatments, including medications, radiation and chemotherapy. At various points along the way, the margins of her cancer changed, at one-point doctors saw cancer cells but felt they were dead cells. In 2002, she underwent a mastectomy and breast reconstruction. Her mom died from cancer.

Being a busy single mother (whose two sons are now grown) Silver said she may have ignored her symptoms longer had she not been aware of the BCCP program. At one point, she served on the Goodwin board.

“I might have adopted a wait and see attitude,” said Silver. “I was busy as a mom. I owned and was running a day care center. Eventually through all this, I decided I needed a real job with benefits, so I now work for Community Partners in direct support services. I found phenomenal doctors and staff and a program that saved my life.”

In a way, Silver still has a wait and see attitude.

Strafford County Public Health Wraps Up Flu Clinic Season

The Strafford County Public Health Network finished their run of flu clinics at Dover Middle School on Tuesday, October 16. The Public Health team, assisted by nurses and vaccinators, and the coordination of school nurses and staff from 19 Strafford County schools. In the 2018 season, 1,351 people received a vaccination from the school-based flu clinics, an increase of over 100 people from last year’s turnout.

The Strafford County Public Health network, which organizes the school flu clinics each year, has seen an increase in turnout over the past 2 years, and works to integrate vaccination and health education into the schools of Strafford County. To learn more about the Strafford County school-based influenza vaccination clinics, visit their website.


Shaheen, Hassan & Shea-Porter Announce $500K To Expand Medication-Assisted Treatment for Substance Abuse Disorder in Seacoast

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) announced $502,729 in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Service grants from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The grant will fund Greater Seacoast Community Health’s efforts to expand medication-assisted treatment for vulnerable populations in Somersworth and the Seacoast region.


“Expanding medication-assisted treatment for Granite Staters struggling with substance use disorder is a significant step to strengthen our efforts to combat the opioid epidemic in New Hampshire,” said Shaheen. “This funding will provide critical resources to Greater Seacoast Community Health, increasing treatment options for those who need it most. We need every tool at our disposal to turn the tide of the opioid crisis, so I’m very pleased by these additional grants to help our health care providers. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’ll continue to fight for more federal support for Granite Staters on the frontlines of this epidemic.”


“Medication-assisted treatment is the gold standard for opioid use disorder treatment and it is a critical part of the comprehensive approach that we need to continue implementing to curb the deadly tide of the opioid crisis,” said Hassan. “This federal grant will support those efforts by expanding access to medication-assisted treatment for some of our most vulnerable Granite Staters under the care of Greater Seacoast Community Health. I’ll keep fighting to secure additional resources so that those seeking treatment have access to the care they need to get their lives back on track.”


“We know that to turn the tide in the deadly opioid epidemic, individuals with substance use disorder need access to evidence-based treatment options, and that’s what this funding will support,” said Shea-Porter. “Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is critical in our state’s fight to combat the opioid epidemic, and we rely on organizations like Greater Seacoast Community Health to administer MAT programs. This funding was made available through the hard work of the entire New Hampshire Congressional Delegation, and I am pleased to see that Greater Seacoast Community Health will receive more of the resources it needs to serve our communities. Congratulations to Greater Seacoast Community Health, and I thank them for the incredible work they do to improve the health and well-being of our communities.”


“We are grateful to the delegation for this funding as it makes a big impact on our capacity to create more access to much needed treatment and recovery services,” said Janet Laatsch, CEO of Greater Seacoast Community Health. “This level of support means that we can expand our street outreach efforts to more of the homeless population, pregnant woman and women with dependent children, veterans, people struggling with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders, and people involved with the criminal justice system.


Greater Seacoast Community Health was established when the Goodwin Community Health Center and Families First merged in January, 2018. The organization of Federally Qualified Health Centers serves 16,500 patients at clinics in Somersworth, Portsmouth, and Seabrook, providing primary care, prenatal care, breast and cervical cancer screenings, MAT, and intensive outpatient treatment for substance use disorder.


As members of the Common Sense Caucus, Senators Shaheen and Hassan helped secure an additional $6 billion to combat the opioid crisis in the budget deal signed into law in February, and helped ensure that a dedicated portion of that funding would be set aside specifically for states hardest hit by the opioid crisis. The congressional delegation led efforts to change the SAMHSA funding formula that puts states like New Hampshire with small populations and high mortality rates from opioid overdoses at a disadvantage. SAMHSA recently agreed to change this funding formula and also limit the number of states eligible for the set-aside funds to a targeted list of states, adhering to a request from the New Hampshire congressional delegation. Together, the funding increase in the omnibus funding bill and these subsequent changes to allocate additional resources to states with exceptionally high overdose death rates, have led to a substantial increase in resources for New Hampshire.


Last week, Senate and House negotiators announced the final funding legislation of the Departments of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and other agencies for fiscal year (FY) 2019, which includes an extension of equivalent funding for opioid response efforts secured in the omnibus funding bill for FY 2018. The Labor-HHS funding bill provides $3.8 billion in funding, an increase of $206 million above the FY2018 funding level. This includes $1.5 billion for State Opioid Response Grants administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The legislation also ensures that New Hampshire will also receive $22.9 million in State Opioid Response Grants for FY 2019.



$10M Grant Supports Behavioral and Physical Health in Strafford County

$10M Grant Supports Behavioral and Physical Health in Strafford County

Dover, NH.  The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services has received $10 million in  funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to integrate physical and behavioral health care for young people with severe mental illness or severe emotional disturbance.  Strafford County will see a portion of these funds directed to Community Partners, and Goodwin Community Health.


The department will receive this funding over five years to support ProHealth NH, a program designed to improve the health and wellness of people ages 16 to 35 with severe emotional disturbance and severe mental illness.


“This grant will enable us to build upon the important work we began last year within the mental health system,” said Gov. Chris Sununu. “Aligning physical health and mental health services makes perfect sense, and working with our largest mental health and community health partners to create a system of care will bring critical services to a greater number of young people, whose futures depend on them.”


The partnership between Goodwin Community Health and Community Partners will utilize this funding to provide a seamless approach of offering behavioral health services to clients, and then pairing these same clients with clinical teams that can simultaneously address co-occurring health care problems, chronic diseases and/or substance misuse disorders.


“Treating the whole self is vital to those with mental illness. This funding legitimizes the mental health crisis and its effect on individuals, families and our healthcare system.”, states Brian Collins, Executive Director for Community Partners.  “Individuals with mental illness often have additional physical ailments, and if left untreated, can result in tragic outcomes which could have been potentially avoided.  We are eager and proud to work with the care teams from Goodwin Community Health. Goodwin’s services fill a needed space in our community and together, our two organizations will change the lives of some of our most vulnerable citizens.”


“Support of this magnitude allows us to build on our partnership with Community Partners to expand much needed access to integrated behavioral health care and primary care for a population that can too easily fall through the cracks,” says Janet Laatsch, CEO of Greater Seacoast Community Health and Goodwin Community Health.  “Having well-organized resources and care coordination available for preventative care for young adults with mental illness and co-occurring physical health conditions is important.  It’s important both to the well-being of the long term prognosis of the individual and it’s important to keeping costs low for the overall health care system in our county and state.”


According to the World Health Organization:


  • People with severe mental disorders on average tend to die earlier than the general

population. This is referred to as premature mortality. There is a 10-25 year life expectancy

reduction in patients with severe mental disorders.


  • The vast majority of these deaths are due to chronic physical medical conditions such as

cardiovascular, respiratory and infectious diseases, diabetes and hypertension. Suicide is

another important cause of death.


  • The majority of deaths of patients with severe mental illness that are due to physical medical

conditions are preventable with more attentive checks for physical illness, side effects of

medicines and suicidal tendencies.


Community Partners is the state designated Community Mental Health Center, Area Agency and Family Support Center for Strafford County, offering a wide variety of services across an individual’s lifespan. For more information about Community Partners visit


Goodwin Community Health is the only FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center) in the Strafford County area to provide access to primary, dental, prenatal, and behavioral health care as well as community wellness and public health services.  For more information about Goodwin visit

Goodwin Community Health and Families First Celebrate National Health Center Week

Goodwin Community Health Center will host a Tri-Chamber business after-hours mixer to mark National Health Center Week 2018. The event is part of a national campaign during the week of August 12th-18h to raise awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s Health Centers and the dedicated staff who bring health care to the medically underserved.


The Tri-Chamber event on Wednesday, August 15 will feature a mobile health van open for tours. The van, headquartered at Families First Health and Support Center in Portsmouth, drives to scheduled locations throughout Strafford and Rockingham counties providing health care to people in need. Wednesday, August 15 is Healthcare for the Homeless Day in National Health Center Week, and the two collaborating health organizations intend to shine a spotlight on the work being done for those affected by homelessness in the community.


Goodwin Community Health and Families First are part of a nationwide network of health centers that serve more than 27 million Americans. Health centers have compiled a significant record of success that includes:


  • Producing $24 billion in annual health system savings;
  • Reducing unnecessary hospitalizations and unnecessary visits to the emergency room;
  • Treating patients for a fraction of the average cost of one emergency room visit;
  • Maintaining patient satisfaction levels of nearly 100 percent;
  • Serving more than one in six Medicaid beneficiaries for less than two percent of the national Medicaid budget;
  • Lowering the cost of children’s primary care by approximately 35 percent


The heroes who work at health centers and help make affordable health care possible for people in need are at the center of this year’s NHCW.  More than 205,000 people work at health centers in positions that include clinicians, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, dentists and dental hygienists, behavioral health specialists, and much more. Working together, these health care heroes produce innovative solutions to the most pressing health care issues in their communities. They reach beyond the walls of conventional medicine to address the factors that may cause sickness, such as lack of nutrition, mental illness, homelessness and substance use disorders. It is their work that has helped reduce health care costs and reduce chronic disease, generating a record of success and along with it a long tradition of bipartisan support in Congress. Families First Health and Support Center and Goodwin Community Health can be found online as well as on Facebook. To learn more about National Health Center Week and the listing of events please visit:

New Hampshire eWIC Program Debutes at Goodwin Community Health

New Hampshire welcomed the first eWIC program in the state on Tuesday, July 31 at Goodwin Community Health Center in Somersworth. WIC (Women, Infants and Children) is being updated and expanded in New Hampshire to make the nutritional service more accessible to those who need it. State-wide integration of Electronic WIC services is expected in fall of 2018, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. The update to the systems includes a WIC Card which can be scanned at agencies and vendors for a faster, easier and more secure transaction process. Riona Corr, Director of WIC Services at Goodwin Community Health, noted the improvements at the premiere celebration on Tuesday. “Moving to eWIC provides a more positive experience for both WIC families and the retailers that serve our participants. It is secure and easy to use, and allows families to purchase food as needed, as opposed to purchasing everything on the paper voucher at once. WIC continues to be available for family or individual nutrition counseling, breastfeeding support and health assessments throughout the state.” Representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services met with Corr and other attendees at Janetos Superette in Dover for the first eWIC purchase in New Hampshire.

The Women, Infants and Children Nutrition Program aims to provide nutrition education and foods to help keep pregnant women, new mothers, infants and preschool children healthy and strong. Striving to make services more accessible by including eWIC cards will enable many more families and people in New Hampshire to maintain a healthy and balanced diet. Resources are available at health centers and online to see eWIC locations throughout the state. WIC Services in New Hampshire are not limited to food packages, nutrition and counseling, breastfeeding consultation, referrals and health screens are all available at WIC locations. To access WIC Services in New Hampshire, a family must be income eligible; reside in the service area, and be nutritionally at risk as determined by a staff nutritionist. Shifting towards the incorporation of technology in the process will enable more eligible individuals to access the nutritional programs. WIC Services at Goodwin Community Health Center can be contacted at (603) 332-4358, and are available to Strafford and Carrol Counties. Participating clinics are listed on



Rochester Pediatrician Joins Families First and Goodwin

ROCHESTER — Lilac City Pediatrics will merge with Greater Seacoast Community Health on Aug. 1, which the popular children’s practice says will allow them to increase the level of mental health and behavioral health services available in the Rochester area.

Dr. Walter Hoerman opened Lilac City Pediatrics in 1996. Since then, Hoerman said he’s seen the need for mental health and other support services skyrocket. Being able to better address that need is what excites Hoerman the most about integrating his practice into the nonprofit Greater Seacoast Community Health’s network.

“By doing this, I’ll have a lot more resources,” said Hoerman. “It’s been a very busy practice and it’s been a very successful 22 years, but in our local market insurance… is becoming terrible. We need to think of new models to do this.”

Greater Seacoast Community Health was formally created in January through the merger of two longtime Seacoast healthcare organizations, Goodwin Community Health of Somersworth and Families First Health & Support Center of Portsmouth.

Lilac City Pediatrics’ office, located at 180 Farmington Road in Rochester, will operate as the northern tip of the organization. Hoerman said he initiated the merger after he read news stories about Goodwin and Families First joining forces.

The merger is the latest in a growing healthcare trend as organizations throughout the region and country look to improve services while simultaneously reducing costs. Recently, both Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover and Exeter Hospital in Exeter affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital.

Greater Seacoast Community Health serves roughly 15,000 local adults and children across Families First’s facilities in Portsmouth and Seabrook, Goodwin’s Somersworth facility and Goodwin’s five mobile health clinics, according to CEO Janet Laatsch. Many of those receiving services are uninsured, underinsured or lacking access to affordable, quality healthcare.

Laatsch said adding Lilac City to the fold will expand their reach and their overall pediatric services, as well as save costs because Greater Seacoast Community Health has been referring out certain pediatric services. She said adding Lilac City also complements the organization’s investment in increasing mental health and substance use disorder services in an area in which many patients have dual diagnoses.

“The big thing is it’s really all about covered lives,” she said. “It sort of normalizes the bell curve. All practices have outliers who have a lot of chronic diseases, which are more expensive to care for. This way, we have more quality outcomes with more pediatrics into our practices.”

The merger also allows Lilac City Pediatrics to become a federally qualified health center, which opens up grant opportunities. Hoerman said those grants will be used to hire several mental health providers in the coming months. A Greater Seacoast Community Health behavioral health specialist will also be moved into Lilac City Pediatrics’ office.

“Lilac City Pediatrics will continue to function just as it does, but we’ll be able to add a bunch more stuff,” he said.

More information about the practices can be found at and

SOS to rock and rally with Rochester concert

Legendary blues artist James Montgomery will headline the Third Annual Recovery Rocks Concert being hosted by SOS Recovery Community Organization (SOS RCO) Sunday, Sept. 23, at the Rochester Opera House.

Read a full article about the upcoming show here.

The FaceBook event for the concert can be found here.