SAN DIEGO, April 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Since last fall, children and their families in San Diego County have been receiving medical and dental care in a state-of-the-art mobile clinic as part of an innovative partnership between La Maestra Community Health Centers and the Verizon Foundation.
In many parts of the county, children are living in single-parent homes where neither child nor parent receives medical or dental care. According to the CDC, there are 4.8 million children in the U.S. who do not have health insurance.
The Verizon Foundation awarded a $90,000 grant to La Maestra last year to help support telemedicine capabilities in the mobile RV clinic and deliver quality healthcare services to patients at schools, housing complexes, community events and key retail shopping areas. This mobile clinic is now equipped with the latest, most advanced telemedicine and X-ray systems technology. While many healthcare providers are still using film X-ray, La Maestra's mobile clinic will soon add digital capabilities, allowing providers to catch potentially life-threatening conditions far in advance. The new telemedicine capabilities will also bridge the gap between the mobile clinic and medical clinics, making timely patient-provider consultations more attainable and patients' records more accessible.
With the foundation's support, La Maestra's mobile medical clinic has established a regular schedule on site at five schools in the San Diego Unified School District and in two schools at the National school district (National City) to reach many of these underserved residents.
"Access to medical and dental care is always a challenge for our patient population, and La Maestra is dedicated to expanding opportunities for families in this area," said Zara Marselian, chief executive officer of La Maestra Community Health Centers. "Many of the children who visit our mobile clinic have never seen a doctor or a dentist before. Our partnership with Verizon is having an immediate impact and changing people's lives, and it's helping the healthcare system by keeping patients from using emergency rooms for primary medical care."
La Maestra is currently working to expand its mobile clinic to more area schools.
About La Maestra Community Health Centers:
Over the past 23 years, La Maestra Community Health Centers has been dedicated to its mission: to provide quality health care and education; to improve the overall wellbeing of the family; bringing the under-served, ethnically diverse communities into the mainstream of our society through a caring, effective, culturally and linguistically competent manner, respecting the dignity of all patients. As a Federally Qualified Health Center, La Maestra offers a comprehensive range of culturally and linguistically-appropriate services including prevention, treatment, chronic disease management and essential support services to low-income, uninsured and underinsured patients of all ages, including refugees and immigrants from over 30 countries, homeless and veterans.
La Maestra operates four primary medical health centers, eight dental clinics, a mental health unit, four school-based health centers, and a mobile medical and dental clinic in the low-income communities of City Heights, El Cajon, Lemon Grove and National City, providing services to over 45,000 patients a year. Its healthcare services include outpatient primary care, pediatrics, geriatrics, women's health, laboratory, digital imaging, telehealth, pharmacy, dental, vision, behavioral health services and school-based health care. Additional services include access to nutritious food through a food pantry and community gardens, help finding safe, affordable housing, financial literacy and microenterprise assistance, and arts and culture programs that promote wellbeing. Enabling and social services such as transportation, interpretation (staff speak over 25 languages), assistance applying for Medi-Cal and other insurance programs, culturally- and age-sensitive health education and outreach services, are also integrated into La Maestra's "Circle of Care" to reduce the barriers that prevent community residents from accessing essential healthcare services, improve patients' compliance rates, and continue to improve the overall health status and well-being of men, women and children in San Diego's most culturally diverse and lowest income communities.
About the Verizon Foundation:
The Verizon Foundation is focused on accelerating social change by using the company's innovative technology to help solve pressing problems in education, healthcare and energy management. Since 2000, the Verizon Foundation has invested more than half a billion dollars to improve the communities where Verizon employees work and live. Verizon's employees are generous with their donations and their time, having logged more than 6.65 million hours of service to make a positive difference in their communities. For more information about Verizon's philanthropic work, visit www.verizonfoundation.org; or for regular updates, visit the Foundation on Facebook (www.facebook.com/verizonfoundation) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/verizongiving).
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