CHATHAM — Access to health care isn’t just a fundamental human right. It’s essential for vibrant communities and a strong local economy.
That’s the perspective of David and Gail Oppenheim, who recently donated $250,000 to Cape Cod Healthcare, and it’s why they’re challenging their neighbors to contribute as well.
“It’s something we think benefits the Cape in so many ways,” Mr. Oppenheim said.
The Oppenheims, who own the Chatham Wayside Inn and the Chatham Yacht Basin, provided funds to help renovate and expand the Fontaine Medical Center in East Harwich in 2003. That facility now provides urgent care and a variety of other services that benefit the Lower Cape. In 2013, they helped establish a medical building in the former High Tide restaurant in West Chatham and ultimately gifted the building to Cape Cod Healthcare.
“It just worked for everybody,” Mrs. Oppenheim said. That facility, named the Oppenheim Medical Building, hosts a physical therapy center, a lab, and a suite for primary care physicians. Cape Cod Healthcare recently hired a second doctor to work at the West Chatham facility, which will give more people access to a family physician. “People are desperate for a G.P.,” she said. A third primary care physician is expected to be hired later this year.
Half of their gift will be used to support primary care at the West Chatham medical center, with the other half split between the Fontaine Outpatient Center and the Visiting Nurse Association of Cape Cod, “which helps everybody,” Mr. Oppenheim said.
When it comes to expanding access to medical services, Cape Cod Healthcare has made great progress in the past 20 years, he said. It also deserves credit for forging important partnerships in the community, like its support of the Duffy Health Center in Hyannis, which provides assistance to many people who struggle with addiction.
“It’s helping with the opioid crisis,” Mr. Oppenheim said. Cape Cod Healthcare also has useful partnerships with Boston hospitals, and Cape Cod Hospital is now a teaching hospital, he said. It’s clear that Cape Cod Healthcare is committed to improving itself, he added.
“They also have some wonderful financial expertise on their board,” Mrs. Oppenheim added.
Cape Cod Healthcare would not have been able to accomplish all that it has over the last seven or eight years without the Oppenheim family’s support, President and CEO Michael Lauf said.
“David and Gail have been major supporters of CCHC, and the Lower Cape in general, for a long
time. They truly care about helping others in their community and are once again leading the charge to
help improve three significant areas of health care on the Lower Cape and beyond,” he said. “We are
extremely proud of our relationship with the Oppenheims and are gratified that their support will
ensure that these important services remain on the Lower Cape.”
“As a family, we’ve been lucky,” Mr. Oppenheim said. The gift is on behalf of his family and the staff of his companies, he said. Ready access to health care is important to his businesses and to the Cape’s economy in general, he added.
“It’s something we don’t talk very much about,” Mr. Oppenheim said, but businesses benefit when their employees are healthier, and have access to nearby urgent care services when minor emergencies arise. Visitors to the Cape sometimes need urgent care, and if access is easy and convenient, that adds to their positive impression of the area, he added. Expanding the Lower Cape’s health care infrastructure “also provides jobs for young professionals,” Mr. Oppenheim said.
In recognition of his family’s gift, Mr. Oppenheim was named co-chairman of Cape Cod Healthcare’s “Advancing Care, Inspiring Hope” campaign.
“It’s an honor to be acknowledged,” he said, noting that he hopes his family’s donation inspires others to do the same, whether they are locals, visitors or business owners.
“The Cape’s a very generous place,” he said.
To contribute, visit www.CapeCodHealth.org/give-to-cchc.