With a grant from Affordable Care Act funding, the Vineyard’s rural health care clinic — the first and only in the state — will become a federally qualified health care center.

National health care reform rolled out Oct. 1, leaving some confused about if and how things will change, and others lost in the details of premiums and health insurance exchanges.

On the Vineyard, the staff at Vineyard Health Care Access is at the front lines, fielding calls from residents, receiving training on the new law, and answering questions about how things will change.


Just like the rest of America, health care on Martha’s Vineyard is in trouble — too often fragmented, unsafe, variable, hard to access and far too costly. Poor system designs are the cause, designs sustained by a fee-for-service payment system that pays for volume (how much you do), not value (how well the patient does). Doctors, nurses, other clinicians, staff, and managers do their very best to help, but they are often fighting upstream against systems that make their work harder.


While President Obama’s landmark Affordable Care Act awaits scrutiny from the Supreme Court and many of its key provisions do not go into effect for years, Dukes County won’t have to wait to benefit from the bill’s focus on preventive health care. On Wednesday Marina Lent of the Dukes County Health Council announced that the county had received a five-year, $60,000-per-year Community Transformation Grant to promote healthy eating and active living.