State License Awarded to Free Clinic Bringing Vital Medical and Psychiatric Services to the Homeless

Sep 08, 2011, 14:51 ET from Peninsula HealthCare Connection

PALO ALTO, Calif., Sept. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Peninsula HealthCare Connection (PHC) has been quietly addressing the medical needs of the most at-risk and underserved in this otherwise wealthy community, where homelessness and poverty are a hidden but very real problem.  The one-of-a-kind Opportunity Service Center was founded by the Community Working Group (CWG) in 2006 and is home to the clinic.  

Having just surmounted the stringent California licensing requirements, and now able to bill Medi-Cal and Medicare for services, the clinic has achieved yet another step toward ensuring long term viability.

PHC benefits not just those who walk through its doors, but also the community at large by reducing strains on local resources and improving public health. 

The clinic incorporates varied services to complement psychiatry and primary care. By offering Integrated Case Management, psychotherapy and educational clinics on such subjects as diabetes management and drug and alcohol dependency, patients' lives are significantly changed.    

Recently, a client began working with the clinic and soon his diabetes and high blood pressure were under control and his caseworker secured him permanent housing. Now, John has a home where his 12-year old grandson can visit!  When a staff member commented on how well he was doing, he smiled and responded, "I'm never going back out there!"

Since 2009, PHC increased the number of people served by over 300% while decreasing its operating expenses by 21%.  In 2010, 3,700 patients/clients were helped: 746 for primary care, 457 for psychiatric services, 930 for case management, 456 for counseling, 516 free medications from pharmaceutical companies (worth $97,000 annually).

"Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) has been a supporter from day one. In addition to donating a Primary Care Physician, they provide annual financial support. This is indicative of their deep commitment to the community," explains Richardson, "Seeing us flourish and serve the community has been the only return they've required on their investment of resources."

"The volunteer commitment to the work at PHC is amazing," says Carol Garsten, Chair of Board. "To be part of a rare and unique opportunity to make healthcare available to all members of the community, visit www.peninsulahcc.org."

SOURCE Peninsula HealthCare Connection