December 21, 2001

San Diego Housing Commission Partners With The Family Health Centers of San Diego to Make "House Calls"

The San Diego Housing Commission has partnered with the Family Health Centers of San Diego to offer a "Mobile Medical Clinic" for public housing residents. The clinic debuted at a grand opening ceremony on November 30.

Funded through a grant issued to the Family Health Centers of San Diego by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Bureau of Primary Health Care, the clinic is designed to help address the issue of declining access to healthcare for lower-income families and individuals.

"This builds on our existing efforts to provide assistance for families to help take care of themselves. At the clinic kids can get their teeth cleaned and get immunizations. Adults might need care for a work-related injury or just to get their annual check up," said Housing Commission CEO Elizabeth C. Morris.

The new clinic offers free and low-cost (on a sliding scale) basic medical and dental services, as well as family counseling — for adult and children residents of Housing Commission public housing programs. Mental health services are also provided. Those with health plans can use their insurance toward the cost.

The clinic is about the size of a city bus and has two examination rooms, a waiting area, and a nursing triage area. A physician supervises clinic staff, which consists of a nurse and nurse practitioner.

The short-term goal of the program is to get people who have not been receiving regular medical attention to get annual exams, receive care for ailments, or obtain needed immunizations. In addition to being affordable, the fact that the Mobile Medical Clinic comes right to the doors of residents encourages participation in the program, since transportation barriers are eliminated. Plus, childcare is less of a problem, since it's easier to get a relative or neighbor to watch your kids if you're "just next door," versus embarking on a long bus journey.

In the long run, the program is designed to help bring about more permanent healthcare arrangements, including securing affordable insurance and getting set up with a primary care physician. Transportation for off-site healthcare is provided, including rides for follow-up visits with medical specialists.

The Mobile Medical Clinic serves public housing residents at seven Housing Commission housing sites, located in the communities of Carmel Valley, Chollas View, City Heights, Clairemont, San Ysidro, University City and Valencia Park. Public housing residents from other Commission-owned sites are also eligible for clinic services.

The San Diego Housing Commission is charged with helping to bridge the gap between the high cost of housing and the large number of low-wage earners in the City of San Diego. The agency helps over 70,000 individuals with affordable housing each year, through award-winning programs that benefit the city's economy and help revitalize neighborhoods.

For more information about free and low-cost health services available to the general public through Family Health Centers, call (619) 515-2300.

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