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Newly Renovated Community Clinic Helps Improve Health and Equity
By Cody Ruedaflores
Community Health Manager, Kaiser Permanente Southern California
As Community Health Systems, Inc., celebrates this month the recent renovation of its Federally Qualified Health Center access clinic in Bloomington, I fondly recall the project’s capital grant site visit. Kaiser Permanente Southern California approved a $300,000 grant to help CHS redesign and expand its existing facility. My Kaiser Permanente colleague Martha Valencia, community health manager, San Bernardino County, and I toured the site during the summer to review CHS’ capital plan and exercise due diligence.
The city of Bloomington is located directly in the middle of a high-need cluster of communities – San Bernardino, Colton, Fontana, and Rialto – just a few miles east of our Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center. What was memorable was that I could visualize the project’s future impact on the community – a brand new, multiservice clinic that would improve health care access and bring more jobs with a livable wage to the neighborhood.
The project was also inspiring because it epitomized Kaiser Permanente’s community health values, and more importantly, it demonstrated how our charitable dollars can literally be “community transformation grants.” Our grants transform communities through policy, system, and environmental changes. Policy and system changes take time, but there is nothing more fulfilling than to see a built-environment change transform a city landscape in a short time that will endure for years. This project will do just that.
The community health center is situated in a low-income census tract that has healthier community conditions than only 9.6 percent of other California census tracts. The tract ranks low across the board in factors that drive health outcomes, such as economic, education, social, neighborhood, housing, environment, and health care access. Additionally, the census tract residents are predominately 84 percent Hispanic/Latino, with approximately 70 percent of the people speaking a non-English language.
The refurbished community health center offers vital medical care, including pediatrics, women’s health, adult primary care, mental and behavioral health, telemedicine, dentistry, optometry, and laboratory/X-ray services. Essentially, the center is a whole person/family care clinic. The center’s expansion will enable it to provide 9,500 more patient visits each year.
“The renovation of the Bloomington Community Health Center will improve patient care and outcomes by hiring additional providers, and increasing the number of intake areas and exam rooms – considerably reducing wait times and improving access to quality care,” said Lori Holeman, chief executive officer, Bloomington Community Health Center. “By doubling the number of exam rooms, the center will increase its patient capacity by 50 percent. Offering multiple services in a single facility makes routine visits more convenient for patients who have long been forced to go to multiple locations.”
Kaiser Permanente is committed to supporting our dedicated community partners such as Community Health Systems. By working together, we can improve health and equity in our communities for today and many years to come.