Our Place In the Community
Community Health Care is a private, non-profit organization created in 1987 when the clinic system moved from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department to become a stand-alone set of clinics after several years of operation by that organization. The total history of the clinic system now known as Community Health Care dates to 1969 when local physicians and concerned citizens, recognizing the problems of access to quality health care for the county’s low-income and uninsured residents, established two volunteer clinics to help fill that void.
The first two clinics, in East Tacoma and in the Hilltop area of Downtown Tacoma, were operated one or two nights a week by volunteer physicians with the help of other citizens handling logistics and paperwork. In the early 1970’s limited funding was obtained from the federal Model Cities Program to support the continuation of the clinical services. In 1980 a new federal funding resource called The Urban Health Initiative made it possible for the county Health Department to take over the operation of the two clinics and to establish two additional clinics, one in Sumner and one in Lakewood.
In 1987, with the passage of the federal Public Health Service Act, funds became available to place the clinic operations under the leadership of a private, non-profit organization separate from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. Community Health Care Delivery System (CHCDS) was chartered in late 1986 and took over the operation of the four clinics under the direction of Ms. Florence Reeves as Executive Director. Ms. Reeves was a Registered Nurse who had headed the clinic program within the Health Department. CHCDS, under the federal funding guidelines, was (and is) governed by a Board of Directors which is composed of clinic patients and other local citizens. By federal requirement, 51% of the Board members must be patients of the clinic system.
With the early addition of a dental clinic to the initial four medical clinics CHCDS began a consistent pattern of growth in an attempt to better meet the needs of the low-income and uninsured residents of Pierce County. In 1995 David Flentge became the new President and CEO of the organization and in 1997, on the 10th anniversary of the organization, the name was officially changed to Community Health Care.
This organization currently operates five medical and four dental clinics throughout Pierce County. Clinics are located in Eastside Tacoma, Hilltop Tacoma, Lakewood, Parkland and Spanaway.
This health center is a Health Center Program grantee under 42 U.S.C. 254b, and a deemed Public Health Service employee under 42 U.S.C. 233(g)-(n)
Community Health Care is an FTCA Deemed facility