by George Bischalaney, President & CEO
Every year on this date, May 6, we celebrate the good work of our nurses as part of National Nurses Week, a time set aside to raise awareness of the value of nursing and help educate the public about the role nurses play in meeting the health care needs of the American people.
At Eden Medical Center, we have nearly 700 registered nurses working at our Eden and San Leandro campuses. These amazing people aren’t just faces in a crowd or numbers on a chart. These are men and women who are called to a career of caring for others. In their own lives, they are mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, family caregivers, coaches. Here at Eden Medical Center, they are heroes.
My office is located on the first floor of Eden Medical Center, just across the hallway from the Intensive Care Unit waiting room. Every day I am here, I see families concerned about the well-being of their loved ones. Some are encouraged, some are grieving, some stop to talk about their experience at out hospital. And I never take for granted the fact that every person has entrusted their lives to our caregivers. I take comfort that the men and women who are caring for our patients, in any area of our hospitals, are skilled, compassionate people who want the very best for our patients and families.
So, on this day, I want to take pause and thank our nurses for all they do. Their work is never easy. It is complex, highly detailed, often exhausting, and so critical to the lives around them. They have a sense of purpose and a capacity for caring that drives them to give of themselves every day. What a remarkable calling.
Thank you, to all of our nurses, for all that you do for us.
In less than 36 hours, our Laurel Grove Hospital was completely demolished, leaving behind not just the debris for recycling, but also more than 45 years of memories.
My name is Bob Bosold, and I am the Project Director for Eden Medical Center. I’ve worked at Eden for 33 years, starting out as an engineer back in 1977. My career at Eden spans thousands of projects that define the buildings of Eden Medical Center. Early on I managed projects ranging from simple office designs and renovations to major expansions and development. Among them are the development of Baywood Court Retirement Community and the complete remodel of Laurel Grove Hospital back in 1990. More recently the renovation of the 6th floor Sutter East Bay Neuroscience Center and the Emergency Department.
Today, I manage projects on the hospital campus, including issues related to the new hospital construction. The demolition of Laurel Grove Hospital is perhaps one of the more bittersweet projects on campus. On the one hand, it symbolizes the progress of our new hospital. On the other, it means the end of a great facility that provided care for thousands of patients and was home to so many great employees. I was a patient at Laurel Grove following knee surgery five years ago, and the care I received was excellent. Yes, it was sad to see the old hospital go.
From a facilities perspective, the demolition of Laurel Grove was far more complex than the actual deconstruction photos show. Our last patient at Laurel Grove was discharged home in December 2009, and the final employee celebration was held December 30. From that moment on, our teams worked to identify and remove virtually every piece of equipment, furniture, fixture and countless other things people don’t even think about that support a hospital structure, such as boilers, propane and diesel fuel tanks, an emergency generator and air conditioning chiller.
Where Did It All Go?
While our patient care staff worked to transfer all patient records to Eden, our facilities team focused on assessing all of the equipment from the rooftop all the way down to the soil. We cleared out major rooms such as Radiology and the kitchen, and gathered the smallest of items found in desk drawers and cabinets. All equipment was identified and relocated according to areas of greatest need and value. In other words, some equipment was given new life where needed at Eden or San Leandro Hospital, or at another Sutter Health facility, or donated to another hospital or clinic in need. This by far was the most gratifying part of this project.
Some equipment was sold or stripped for parts for use where needed, but that represents a small percentage compared to what we were able to reuse or recycle. Although Laurel Grove looked small from the outside, it held a significant amount of furniture (hospital beds, tables, curtains, chairs), office equipment (desks, bookcases, filing cabinets) and supplies (wheelchairs, walkers, office supplies) and so much “stuff” in every room.
Fortunately, we found a home for almost everything. Our specialized LaserOptics equipment was donated to UC Berkeley Vision Sciences and their School of Ophthalmology. Physical and occupational therapy equipment, wheelchairs, walkers and related items were donated to Alameda County Medical Center and several other clinics. Much of our furniture, office supplies, cabinetry and kitchen equipment made its way to schools, clinics, local businesses and organizations including MedShare, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving healthcare through the redistribution of surplus medical supplies and equipment to developing countries. I would have to say that about 95 percent of the interior equipment was donated or used elsewhere. The rest was recycled along with the building (more on this later).
Once the abatement was complete and the connection between the hospital and adjacent medical office building was closed and remodeled and new walkways installed, the old hospital was torn down in less than two days. From the street, what is left looks like a big pile of rubble. But what is really happening behind the fence is amazing. Over the next two weeks, virtually every part of the building and site will be recycled: metals, woods, plastics, concrete, vegetation, landscape materials, all of it.
The metal is separated from the fiber by a large sorter on site. All the metal will be recycled, and the fiber material will be sent to Waste Management, where it will be used in composting and come back to life as, among other things, potting soil! Some of the material will find new life as colored bark that is used in gardens. And best of all, the concrete (including Laurel Grove’s foundation), will be ground up, set aside and later used as site fill on the new hospital site. Laurel Grove will live on.
Here is a quick look at how the materials are separated for recycling at the site:
By April 15, the Laurel Grove site will become a paved parking lot for the hundreds of contractors working on the project. Once the underground utilities are taken care of, the site will have new landscaping that will enhance the aesthetics of the neighborhood. The lot will remain parking for contractors throughout the entire building project, and will convert to employee parking in 2013.
A Time of Change
From my perspective, seeing the end of Laurel Grove Hospital comes with mixed emotions. Eden purchased Laurel Grove in 1986, and from that moment I was involved in expanding, remodeling and upgrading the entire facility. And so, many years later, I watched it come down. I feel a sense of pride in being involved in creating a good facility that provided care to so many people, and a sense of sadness in seeing it go. But I am also excited, knowing this is progress and we are making way for our new hospital.
One project ends, another begins. I spend a lot of time putting things up and making them work, and a lot of time taking them down and making them work as something else. That’s the nature of my work and I wouldn’t want to do anything else.
I will write more on the recycling in my next post. In the meantime, I welcome your comments and questions.
Courtesy of DPR Construction
The contractors have finished drilling all 560 piers for the foundation of our new hospital! While more work continues around those piers, including concrete, pile caps, grade beams and the underground electrical and plumbing work, this is a significant step forward for the project. Very quickly, the crews will begin erecting steel at specific locations of the site (weather permitting). Later this week, perhaps as early as Friday if the weather permits, the largest crane yet on site will arrive to handle the steel loads. The crawler crane will reach a maximum height of 300 feet when it moves to the upper foundation.
Work is also moving along for the ramp connecting the garage to the main hospital driveway. Rain has caused delays in this area, setting the opening back to the end of February. This new access route will greatly improve traffic flow and convenience for our patients and visitors.
Also this week, the contractor took over Laurel Grove Hospital to begin abatement and deconstruction of the facility. A great deal of effort went into closing down the facility after the last patients were discharged at the end of December. Much of the equipment found new life at Eden, San Leandro Hospital and other Sutter Health affiliates. And many other organizations received supplies, equipment, furniture and more as staff cleaned out the last of the hospital before turning it over to DPR Construction. Some of the organizations that received supplies and equipment include MedShare (with much of the equipment going to Haiti relief efforts), Castro Valley Unified School District, Davis Street Family Resource Center, Fairmont Hospital and UC Berkeley Vision Sciences, to name just a few. We’ll share more information on this effort in a post from Eden Project Director Bob Bosold later this week. Laurel Grove is now secured by fencing as crews begin their detailed work before removing the building in March.
By George Bischalaney, President & CEO, Eden Medical Center
On May 12, 2009, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors deferred action on the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and related actions needed to begin the redevelopment of the Eden Medical Center campus.
The delays were for the most part caused by the late submission of information from a group opposing the approval. Their opposition stems from a misguided effort to link the future of the San Leandro Hospital to the future of the new Eden campus hospital. Opponents contend there is a nexus in the decision making as well as an unaddressed impact to the new Eden hospital.
Our initial assessment is twofold. First, the future of each hospital is distinct from the other. The Board of Supervisors’ actions regarding the Eden redevelopment will not affect the decision process to determine how the San Leandro campus will be used in the future. Secondly, there was very little or nothing new in the comments that actually addressed the EIR itself. Hopefully, the Board will draw the same conclusion and move forward with the needed approvals on June 9th.
Eden Medical Center has been the designated trauma center for Southern Alameda County for more than 20 years. It has served thousands of patients over that time, including victims of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that shut down the Bay Bridge and collapsed the Nimitz Freeway in Oakland. It is absolutely critical that Eden is replaced as soon as possible. Earthquakes, like all natural disasters, are unpredictable. People will rightfully ask why we weren’t prepared if avoidable delays in preparing for the inevitable are not overcome. We have a need to rise above politics and special interests to meet a greater obligation of the health and well being of the community of being served. People of good will and with good intentions can do so. Let’s hope we see this kind of sentiment on June 9th.
You can take action and sign a petition to the Board of Supervisors and urge them to stop delays and vote yes on the EIR. Please take a moment to sign the petition at the link below.
Thank you for your continued support of the new hospital.
By Cassandra Clark, Project Communications Director
To follow up on the May 12, 2009 Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting, the decision to certify the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) has been delayed to June 9th to address concerns raised about San Leandro Hospital, which is leased and operated as part of Eden Medical Center, but owned by the Eden Township Healthcare District (the District). For more information, please see our previous blog post.
In the days prior to the May 12th meeting, after many rounds of public commentary, and after the EIR and related land use entitlements were approved by the Castro Valley MAC (Municipal Advisory Council) and the Alameda County Planning Commission, several community members and labor representatives raised last minute concerns about parts of the EIR. Those opposed to the EIR certification claim that there was not an adequate assessment of the impact of any possible closure or change of services at San Leandro Hospital, despite the fact that the EIR consultant and County planning staff have stated that the EIR is complete and the issues around San Leandro Hospital, while not related to the project, have no impact on the project. Supervisor Nate Miley made a motion for the Board to meet again to make the decision on June 9, 2009, which would provide attorneys for Alameda County an opportunity to examine these claims in more detail.
Supervisors Miley and Haggerty voiced their concerns about speakers making false or misleading allegations as a political tactic, in order to delay the EIR approval process, thereby “holding the Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley project for ransom,” which he and the other Supervisors warned could endanger the future of both Eden and San Leandro Hospitals. While there has been no decision by Sutter Health or the District on the future of San Leandro Hospital, the issue remains a topic of community discussion.
Eden Medical Center President & CEO George Bischalaney and other Sutter and Eden project team members emphasized the urgency of not going beyond June 9th to approve the EIR, as the delay of even a month could significantly hold up construction and may cause Sutter Health to withdraw its support from both hospitals. Sutter Health has already promised the $320 million to pay for the completion of the new Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley.
At the conclusion of the May 12th meeting, the four Supervisors present, with Supervisor Keith Carson absent, voiced their support for the new hospital project and the need to rebuild Eden Medical Center. They also are concerned about the future of San Leandro Hospital, and that concerns over San Leandro should perhaps be discussed in another forum, unrelated to the land use entitlements for Eden.
As our project team discussed in previous articles and blog posts and at the hearing, any delays in approvals and construction have serious repercussions, in terms of meeting state deadlines to rebuild, in creating a safe environment for patients and staff, and in funding this major project. The new hospital must be rebuilt, or it will close as an acute care facility effective January 1, 2013. We now have before us a fully funded hospital project—without public funding or taxes—that will secure the future of Eden Medical Center, preserve jobs and bring nearly 1,000 construction jobs to the region at a time when the economy is depressed and construction is drying up.
As I stated before, the issues around San Leandro Hospital are complex and important. The community has a right to know what is happening. But the information being discussed now is no different that it has been for the past several years: the hospital is struggling and must be reinvented to bring value to the community and ensure that it can sustain itself over time. It is clear to me that the residents of San Leandro desire a full service community hospital, yet the majority of them will never use it. The community and local elected officials have known that this is a concern, and yet this last minute effort to stop the EIR based on what some claim to be “new information” is not justified. San Leandro Hospital, its employees, physicians and patients need to be part of the solution for the hospital, to be discussed in its own forum with regional providers who can bring truth and substance to the discussion. It should not be used as a political maneuver to stop Sutter Health from rebuilding Eden.
Please speak up, let our Board of Supervisors know they must not delay any further. These delays put both hospitals in jeopardy. I encourage you to stand up and let your voice be heard on this issue. Don’t just wait for the next hearing, but instead pick up the phone or send a letter to the Board and let them know you support the new hospital project, and encourage them to certify the EIR so the project can move forward before it’s too late.
Supervisor Nate Miley — 510-272-6694
Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker — 510-272-6693
Supervisor Gail Steele — 510-272-6692
Supervisor Keith Carson — 510-272-6695
Supervisor Scott Haggerty — 510-272-6691
By Cassandra Clark, Project Communications Director
YOUR HELP IS NEEDED!
We are only a week away from the Alameda County Board of Supervisors hearing in which the Board will consider the Final Environmental Impact Report, zoning changes, and Castro Valley general plan changes. We are asking for your support at this critical step.
Local groups and some residents of San Leandro are applying fierce political pressure on the Board members to deny approval. Their reason? The future of San Leandro Hospital is unknown, and therefore they are pressuring the Board of Supervisors to require Sutter Health to keep San Leandro Hospital open as a condition of approving the land use for the new hospital in Castro Valley.
What wrong with this? First of all, the Board of Supervisors are not voting on the future of San Leandro Hospital—they are having a public hearing on the land use entitlements and certifying the EIR. To delay or deny approval based on pressure about San Leandro is wrong.
The future of San Leandro Hospital is not and should not be tied to the new hospital. Indeed, San Leandro Hospital is a critical issue that must be addressed—and it requires a regional solution, more careful planning, and a separate focus than this project. It’s an important issue that cannot be overlooked, for the sake of the staff, physicians and patients. But the complex issues at one hospital should not be tied to the land use entitlements for the new hospital project.
Simply stated, by delaying plans for the new hospital, the Board will jeopardize the future of Eden AND San Leandro hospitals.
I am asking you to attend the Board of Supervisors meeting on May 12 and SPEAK UP in favor of our new hospital. Speakers are limited to 3 minutes, but a simple 30-second statement is powerful. The Board needs to know that residents of Castro Valley and surrounding communities want and need this new hospital, without delays.
Tuesday, May 12
Board of Supervisors Meeting Chambers
1221 Oak Street, Oakland
If you cannot attend the meeting, we need to you to contact the Alameda County Board of Supervisors and have you voice your opinion. It is so important that the Board hears from everyone, especially since the majority of people in our community support this project (an astounding 80% of community members are in favor according to recent polls!).
Call your Supervisors today!
Supervisor Nate Miley — 510-272-6694
Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker — 510-272-6693
Supervisor Gail Steele — 510-272-6692
Supervisor Keith Carson — 510-272-6695
Supervisor Scott Haggerty — 510-272-6691
Thank you for your continued support!
As always, we also appreciate your comments and questions on this blog, and we’ll respond as quickly as possible.
By Jesús Armas, Government Affairs Liaison
As we discussed in previous posts, acute care hospitals must meet certain earthquake standards by 2013. Failure to meet these standards means that hospitals must cease operations. Recognizing the critical role Eden Medical Center plays in meeting the health care needs of the community, Sutter Health previously expressed its commitment to build a new, state-of-the-art hospital in Castro Valley. Yet, this important project can move forward only if it obtains certain approvals from the County.
We are pleased to report that this project is getting closer to becoming a reality as a result of important decisions by the Alameda County Planning Commission.
On April 6, the Commission voted unanimously to recommend to the Board of Supervisors that it certify the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and modify various General Plan and zoning regulations to allow this project to advance closer to the start of construction.
During the Commission meeting some public speakers expressed concern about the future of San Leandro Hospital. While the Commissioners acknowledged the points expressed by the speakers, they also expressed their unwavering support for this project, and stressed the importance of not imposing obstacles to the start of construction.
With a favorable recommendation from the Commission, project consideration now advances to the Board of Supervisors. UPDATE: On May 12th, the Board will hold a public hearing on the project (postponed from the original date of April 28th). At that time, the Board will be asked to approve the project based on overwhelmingly favorable public testimony to date, and positive recommendations not only from the Alameda County Planning Commission but also the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council and County Planning Staff. Assuming a favorable Board action, site work will commence this summer. Overall, construction will take between 24 and 30 months.
We will update this blog with additional information about the Board of Supervisors meeting on May 12th when we are notified. As always, we welcome your questions, concerns and comments.
By Cassandra Clark, Project Communications Director
This week, the Alameda County Planning Department presented the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Sutter Castro Valley Medical Center and related documents to the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council for review and approval. The Council is an advisory board of seven community members who work on behalf of the unincorporated town of Castro Valley and serves as advisor to Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley.
This is one more essential step toward approvals to allow the new hospital project to move forward. The meeting drew a large crowd interested in the future of Eden Medical Center and in health care in the region. Many audience members spoke highly of the project and showed their support for Eden and the new hospital.
There were several members of the audience in attendance who voiced their concerns about the future of San Leandro Hospital, located 4.5 miles from Eden and struggling to survive in these tough economic times. The 93-bed hospital is part of Eden Medical Center and provides services to the San Leandro community.
There has been much discussion about the future of this hospital due to significant financial losses and decreased utilization. While the future of San Leandro Hospital is still unknown, it is clear that it cannot continue as it is today. Sutter Health and the Eden Township Health Care District (the owner of San Leandro Hospital) are working toward a solution for the hospital so that it continues to provide health care services in a way that meets the needs of the community.
While members voiced their concerns about San Leandro Hospital, they moved forward and approved the issue before them: the land use entitlements and EIR for the Castro Valley project. There was no opposition based on the merits of the project, the land use, nor the environmental impact. What the Council did ask was for the Board of Supervisors, in their approval process, to consider if San Leandro Hospital’s future has an impact on this project.
The next step in the approval process is the Alameda County Planning Commission (April 6) and the Board of Supervisors (April 28)—and both of these are opportunities for us to address how this project will serve the region’s health care needs. But without these land use approvals, the Castro Valley project cannot move forward. And, as we have stated so many times before, this essential project must advance on an accelerated timeline in order to meet the state-mandated deadline of January 1, 2013. After that date, the existing hospital can no longer function as an acute care hospital and must close its doors.
Solving health care problems requires intensive and collaborative efforts. It’s a regional issue, not one that can be solved by one organization alone. What is certain is that we have a new hospital project before us that is fully funded, without tax or public funds, and the first to come forward in Alameda County to meet the State’s earthquake safety standards. It is an amazing project, and one that should not be held back while health care providers in the region work toward a viable solution for San Leandro and other hospitals that are struggling to survive.
We’ll have more information on these issues as they evolve, from experts far more experienced than me. So, in the meantime, I encourage you to view the video prepared for the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council by our architects, the Devenney Group. The animation is a fly-over and fly-through of the new hospital and campus. Enjoy!
By Jack Alotto, President & CEO of Eden Medical Center Foundation
My name is Jack Alotto. I am the President & CEO of Eden Medical Center Foundation. I’ve been raising money for non-profit organizations for more than 20 years in health care as well as the arts and social services. At Seton Medical Center Foundation in Daly City, we raised more than $1 million and increased Seton’s employee giving campaign by 600% in my first year.
I also started the first planned giving program for the City Library of Santa Clara, California. We even created a used bookstore and café called Friends of the Library—we made great cappuccinos!
For the past two years now, I’ve been steering the ship at Eden Foundation, and we are fortunate to have a very active board with 17 members, including Lawrence Dickinson, M.D., one of the top neurosurgeons in the East Bay and our board chairman.
All the money we raise helps ensure that patients and the community we care for have the most technologically advanced, highest quality care available. We pay for medical equipment, clinical training and continuing education for our staff, plus health education seminars for our community, and health care for our uninsured residents.
I’m proud to say that in the last two years we’ve raised more than $4,000,000, while keeping our costs surprisingly low. We owe our highest admiration and heartfelt gratitude to you, our patients and members of the community for your generous donations and participation in our special events. And a special thank you to our physicians and employees who give the Foundation tremendous support.
Take a look at the prolific list of equipment and community service programs your donations paid for last year. Donor Gifts Have Gone a Long Way in 2008…
With contributions from individuals, physicians and staff, corporations and foundations, Eden Medical Center Foundation has made the following gifts to Eden Medical Center:
Tools to Enhance Patient Care
• A new CT Scanner for San Leandro Hospital provides improved diagnostic services to inpatients and outpatients
• Laerdal Airway Management Training equipment for trauma nurses to sharpen their airway management skills through realistic practice
• Two blood pressure/pulse ox/temperature monitors keep triage equipment up-to-date
• Four new trauma monitors providing state-of-the-art monitoring of trauma patients to enable health care providers to have immediate and ongoing assessment of trauma patients
• An exercise bicycle at Laurel Grove Hospital helps rehabilitation patients recover more quickly
• A golf cart for Food and Nutritional Services provides prompt service to patients and reduce the risk of injury to employees
• New IV poles and wheelchairs help nurses and department staff to provide better patient care
• A new LCD/DVD supports ongoing training for Emergency Room and trauma staff
• Bladder scanners allow the neurology/medical/surgical unit and 5th floor surgery department to perform noninvasive monitoring for postoperative patients
• A JUZO Perometer in Rehabilitation Services enhances the level of patient care provided to lymphedema patients
• X-ray imaging is performed during vascular and orthopedic surgical procedures through the use of a radiolucent surgical table
• A pediatric bronchoscope is life-saving equipment trauma surgeons use to address breathing problems of children in the trauma center, thus saving a trip to the operating room.
• Radiology techs underwent training on the best use of the Toshiba Fluoroscopy and Multi-Purpose room to facilitate better patient care.
• Free senior flu clinics were held at San Leandro Hospital and Eden Medical Center
• A Women’s Health Symposium at Eden Medical Center provided an evening of free education on the health risks women face
• Eden Medical Center hosts five cancer support groups for patients and families facing cancer, caregivers and for people mourning a loss.
• Continuing education for nurses keeps Eden’s nurses up-to-date on the latest in health care
• Students at Skyline High School, San Leandro High School and Castro Valley High School go through the anti-alcohol and drug program, Every 15 Minutes
• Social Work Services provides shelter for transients recovering from a wound
• Support for Spiritual Care volunteers working in Social Work Services department
• GE Medical Systems Bone Densitometry Screening equipment allows Eden provide free screening at health fairs and community events
• Community members and Eden employees can take part in smoking cessation programs
• Emergency First Aid Guidelines assist local school staff members in responding to emergencies until medical staff can arrive.
Besides funding projects for our two hospitals in Castro Valley and San Leandro, we have taken on raising money for Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley, the hospital that will replace Eden Medical Center.
My vision is that once the doors open, our Foundation will pay for anything the new medical center needs! We have already started our fundraising efforts; last year’s Golf Tournament, which netted more than $60,000, was the first fundraiser on behalf of the new buildings.
So here is our wish list for Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley:
The Need: $25 million
Your generous contribution could provide technological and equipment updates so doctors and nurses can provide patients at the new Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley with the best in medical care. Advancements in technology for medical tools and equipment mean patients can experience less pain and discomfort, and doctors can perform less invasive procedures. This can translate into shorter recovery times and decreased hospital stays so patients can go home sooner. We constantly strive to improve a patient’s health care experience and state-of-the-art equipment and technology helps us to meet this goal.
Intensive Care, Critical Care and Trauma Center Upgrades
The Need: $15 million
Consider making a gift to help patients in intensive care, critical care and trauma comfortably and safely recover from surgery and other medical procedures. New beds, patient monitors, bedside equipment, and state-of –the-art nurse call systems will improve a patient’s stay and help doctors and nurses better attend to the needs of each patient.
Medical and Surgical Floor Enhancements
The Need: $6 million
Philanthropic support will help us purchase beds and other patient room equipment for Labor and Delivery, the Neuroscience Center and Medical and Surgical Units.
Outpatient Surgery Enhancements
The Need: $3 million
Higher image quality and patient comfort are combined in the newest tools used by physicians and nurses. Your generous gift will enable the Outpatient Surgery Department to replace older, outdated equipment with the latest technology at the new hospital.
We have many giving programs and named gift opportunities available to our donors. If you would like more information about our work at the Foundation and how you can support the new hospital, please call me at the Foundation office at 510-889-5033, or email me.
By Cassandra Clark, Project Communications Director
Finding access to primary care services is a serious challenge for local residents who are uninsured and underinsured. Many cannot afford routine doctor visits, long-term disease management or other basic services. Often, we see patients in our emergency rooms with advanced illness because they have no access to a regular doctor. Thankfully, in our community, more people have access to low-cost and no-cost medical care because of community-based organizations that help fill the need.
The Davis Street Family Resource Center’s RotaCare Free Acute
Clinic in San Leandro and Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center in Hayward and Union City have been filling that gap by providing primary care, pediatric and dental services to local residents for many years.
So it was welcome and uplifting news when Sutter Health recently awarded $100,000 grants to each of these organizations. Sutter’s Community Clinic Access to Care Grant program is a commitment by the Sutter Health network to improve access to health care services in the communities that it serves.
When Eden Medical Center learned of the available funds through the Community Clinic Access to Care Grant program, the people of Eden immediately thought of these two clinics. Eden has worked with these two organizations for many years, and both are highly regarded clinics in the community.
The $100,000 grant to the RotaCare Clinic is now being used to upgrade equipment and expand the clinic’s hours of operation. More than 60 doctors and nurses—many of whom work at Eden Medical Center and San Leandro Hospital—volunteer one of the four evenings a week that the clinic is open. San Leandro Hospital also provides basic radiology and laboratory services to clinic patients.
Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center is using their $100,000 grant to expand primary care services to residents of unincorporated areas of Cherryland and Ashland. These areas, adjacent to the cities of Hayward and San Leandro, have virtually no medical resources and very few physician offices. The clinic can now expand to these communities and offer primary, pediatric and maternity care.
The RotaCare Clinic and Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center were among 26 medical and dental centers in Northern California that benefited from the more than $2.5 million that Sutter Health’s Community Clinic Access to Care Grant Program awarded. Often, these good works go unnoticed, and so I thought I would share the good news. As always, your questions and comments are welcome.