Community Partnerships Help Expand Access to Vital Medical Care
No parent should have to worry whether they can receive medical care for their sick child. Yet, each year, millions of adults nationwide face the harsh reality of not being able to obtain health care for their children and themselves.
Low-income adults and families, as well as those who lack, or have limited, health insurance, suffer the most from the immense gap in access to health care. Kaiser Permanente has long been committed to reducing health care disparities and promoting good health in the areas we serve. But we know we can’t do it alone.
To make the most significant impact, we partner with community organizations and other institutions who share a common vision that everyone deserves access to timely health care, and to live a happy, healthy, and productive life.
But good health involves more than going to the doctor’s office. We also collaborate with others to increase access to fresh, nutritious food; a good education; and safe, green parks to relax and play. Together we work to help make the healthy choice the easy choice – at home, work, and in our schools.
Safety net clinics serve a critical function
Impoverished people often must choose between buying food or obtaining medical treatment. The goal of safety net clinics is to provide high-quality primary care to their patients to stay healthy or manage existing health conditions. These full-service health care facilities serve a critical function, offering free or low-cost services based on the patient’s ability to pay that are uniquely tailored to the diverse communities they serve.
Although many safety net clinics receive state and federal funding, they are locally organized and managed. Through collaboration, the clinics become better equipped to provide a consistent source of excellent care.
Kaiser Permanente has worked with safety net clinics for many years to help develop effective ways to improve access to high-quality medical care for the most in need, including:
- Sharing best practices
- Implementing referral protocols
- Providing surgical assistance
- Offering technical training
- Contributing financial support
Partnership helps transform East Valley Community Health Center
Kaiser Permanente Southern California worked with East Valley Community Health Center in West Covina, for example, to help create a beautiful, up-to-date facility. This team effort enabled the clinic to expand their technical, educational, and medical services, as well as to help design a welcoming and comfortable setting for patients.
“Kaiser Permanente helps clinics such as ours provide access to care through robust collaboration and partnerships that allow us to expand patient care and enhance patients’ overall well-being,” said Lelenia Navarro, chief operating officer, East Valley Community Health Center. “Partnership is the core of this relationship. It’s what provides services that our patients might not get any other place. It can be lifesaving for our patients – and that’s invaluable.”