DERRY | Community Health Services of Greater Derry is currently enrolling new members.

"During the holidays people sometimes carry a heavy burden while trying to make the season bright for their children and families," said Donna Tighe, executive director of Community Health Services, known as CHS.

"Sometimes that comes at the expense of good health and well being."

If you do not have health insurance, cannot afford the costs of commercial coverage and are not covered by Medicaid or Medicare, CHS may be able to help.

A primary health care and prevention program for low-income, uninsured residents of 10 communities, CHS provides access to affordable care, medication and other necessary services including oral health when needed.

The towns that CHS services are Atkinson, Chester, Danville, Derry, Hampstead, Londonderry, Plaistow, Salem, Sandown and Windham.

CHS is now in its 11th year of being a short-term bridge for individuals who do not qualify for public assistance programs, but for whom the costs of commercial health coverage are out of reach.

In 1996, CHS expanded from an organization that had offered prenatal services since 1989, to a practice-based primary health care program that includes pharmacy services, mental health and case management. In 2001, a pharmacy program was started for low-income seniors and in 2004, dental care for eligible members was added.

CHS currently services more than 2,500 people in the Greater Derry community.

"On any given day, 300 people use CHS for doctors appointments, medication, dental services and other health needs," Tighe said.

Call 425-2545 or stop by the office at 41 Birch Street in Derry to see if you and your family qualify for assistance. All inquiries are confidential.

CHS now manages Londonderry's Welfare needs

Residents of Londonderry are now referred to Community Health Services of Greater Derry for case management of welfare issues since Londonderry Welfare manager Elaine LaFond retired earlier this year.

"We are assisting Londonderry residents with emergency housing, fuel, food, utilities and primary needs," said Donna Tighe, executive director of Community Health Services. "We are contracted by Londonderry to provide case management, while the town of Londonderry still handles the financial side."

Clients seeking assistance have an intake assessment by a nurse or social worker and this is a big plus said Tighe.

When someone calls the old Londonderry Welfare office number, they are automatically directed to CHS.

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