CCHP is part of an integrated delivery system with its roots in going back to 1899 when the first Chinese residents in San Francisco were forced to settle in Chinatown. Isolated from the rest of the city, they did not have access to the services provided by San Francisco institutions. Schools and hospitals were not open to the Chinese people for decades. Even during the bubonic plague outbreak at the turn of the century, the city’s health department quarantined Chinatown rather than open health facilities to afflicted Chinese. The only facility available that practiced western medicine was the Tung Wah Dispensary - founded in 1899 and staffed by Christian missionaries.
The dispensary was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and was rebuilt. The growing needs of the community inspired 15 Chinese service organizations to join together and raise funds for a hospital to replace the dispensary. In 1925, Chinese Hospital was opened and gave the Chinese community a convenient option to the distant San Francisco General Hospital. The San Francisco Chinese Hospital is the first and only Chinese hospital in America. As hospital requirements changed, the second Chinese Hospital was opened in 1979 and was also built entirely from community resources. The original Chinese Hospital was then converted to a medical office and administrative building.
During the 1980’s when managed care became a driving force on how health care was funded, the Chinese community continued to grow and many people held low income jobs working in small businesses - businesses that insurance companies did not find profitable to insure. The community physicians and Chinese Hospital were often not included. In 1982, the medical staff at Chinese Hospital established a non-profit independent physicians association, Chinese Community Health Care Association.
With the help of Blue Shield of California, Chinese Community Health Plan formed in 1982 as an alternative HMO for patients who wanted to continue receiving care within the Chinese health system. CCHP obtained a Knox-Keene license in 1987 so it could offer quality, affordable health plans directly to the community. Today, CCHP has grown to over 27,000 members and is involved in administration of an additional 17,000 members in Medi-Cal, Medicare and commercial programs. (Membership data as of March 2015.)