By Steve Edgcumbe
La Comunidad Hispana has been serving southern Chester County as a leading provider of integrated health and community services for 46 years now.
LCH was started in 1973 as a bilingual social services agency by a group of Kennett Square residents – led by Peggy Harris and Margarita Quiñones, clergy members, and other advocates – to serve the needs of a primarily-Latino population drawn to the area by jobs in the mushroom industry.
Its purpose, then and now, is to serve adults and families (of all backgrounds and ethnicities) in need of a place to go for help, to ask questions, and to seek resources.
In the mid-1980s, LCH expanded to provide health services. In 2012, it became a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC).
LCH has a Board of Directors comprised of dedicated community leaders who meet every month to review its services and strategic goals. As a FQHC, at least half of the LCH board must be current users of the health center. This provides transparency, voice, and authentic, insightful feedback on how LCH can continue to improve its services.
Health insurance or no health insurance, LCH won’t turn anyone away due to an inability to pay. It accepts most private health plans, as well as public health plans such as Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP. Uninsured patients pay on a sliding-fee scale based on household income and family size.
In national rankings released by the Health Resources and Services Administration in 2018, LCH earned the status of Health Center Quality Leader for the second year in a row. It was one of only 14 health centers in the state of Pennsylvania to receive that award in 2018.
LCH also received the Delivering High Value Health Care award in 2018, making it one of just three health centers in Pennsylvania to receive the award.
LCH serves everyone – not just the Hispanic community – who qualifies for its services, and uses the Team Based Care model, which means that a patient will see not only the same clinical provider on each visit, but the same team of caregivers.
“We think everyone should be able to access healthcare in their community,” said LeeAnn Riloff, LCH’s Director of Development. “The people we serve are not all low-income people. Some people might be self-employed. Some might have health insurance, but it may not be very good, and they may still have a lot of out-of-pocket expenses.”
LCH has three health centers staffed by a team of doctors, nurse practitioners, chronic care specialists, nurses, behavioral health consultants, case workers, medical assistants, and interpreters. Its main health center is in Kennett Square. LCH also offers a small health center in Oxford and a specialty care site in West Grove, which houses LCH’s Dental Center and its Women’s Health Center.
LCH services include:
- primary healthcare for all ages
- dental care for all ages
- women’s healthcare, including cancer screenings and prenatal care
- mental healthcare for all ages
- substance abuse counseling
The organization receives one-third of its funding from the federal government, one-third from healthcare insurance reimbursement (if coverage exists); and one-third from philanthropy, specifically from grants and donations.
LCH has two fundraisers set for the fall: The Let’s Choose Health (LCH) 5K Run on Sept. 21 at Anson B. Nixon Park and the Amigos of LCH Dinner on Oct. 25 at the Red Clay Room.
Click here to learn more about La Comunidad Hispana.