DOWNEY - Hoping to bring affordable, preventative health coverage to thousands of uninsured and underserved residents in southeast Los Angeles County, Downey Regional Medical Center is announcing plans to open a new primary, urgent family care clinic this spring, near the corner of Brookshire Avenue and Firestone Boulevard.As part of a collaboration with Amrit Davaa World Health, the new 5,000-square-foot facility, located at 8536 Firestone Blvd., will offer patients a full spectrum of healthcare services in a financially feasible venue, Downey Regional officials said. "The clinic is currently under construction and will provide the underserved a healthcare home that offers a high standard of healthcare in a culturally competent manner," said Dr. Natalie Nevins, director of medical education at Downey Regional. "Last year, we spent over $25,000,000 serving nearly 13,000 indigent patients in our emergency rooms...we have to get them in a clinic environment ‚àí we have to stop the Band-Aid care." According to a statement released by Downey Regional, the clinic will provide comprehensive primary care, including lab services, mental health referrals, pre-natal and urgent care, for children, adults and seniors, regardless of their ability to pay. The clinic will also become a referral source for low-income populations and serve as a follow-up facility for those recently discharged from the hospital. "Access to preventative medicine is the key to a healthy community," Nevins said. "The center's education, preventative care, and holistic, family-centered approach will decrease morbidity, decrease healthcare costs, improve emergency room wait-time for those with true emergency medical problems and overall improve the quality of life for Downey's surrounding communities." The center will also provide a team training site for Downey Regional residents, working in the hospital's Family Practice Residency Program. In conjunction with Downey Regional professionals, students seeking medical, nursing, optometry, podiatry, and dental degrees from Western University of Health Sciences, will have the opportunity to work with patients at the care center. Once completed, the proposed center, which is expected to open around April, will include nine treatment rooms, radiology services, a laboratory, medication dispensing, two counseling rooms and a conference room for resident and patient education. Amrit Davaa World Health, a global, non-profit organization that strives to help communities by working to create sustainable healthcare facilities, has partnered with Downey Regional and is leading the fundraising effort for the building and construction of the family clinic, which is being funded partly through grant money. According to Nevins, several organizations have donated funds, labor and services towards the clinic, including Real Medicine Foundation, Direct Relief USA, South LA YouthBuild, LA Trade Tech, Downey Federal Credit Union, Downey Lions Club and The Home Depot, which donated $20,000 in building materials towards the renovation. "I'm excited about what this means for Downey and the surrounding community," said Nevins. "It will save taxpayers money and improve the quality of life in our local communities...hopefully, we can be the model of how residency programs, hospitals and emergency care centers can work together to bring these services to the community."
********** Published: February 24, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 45