Cameron Park Life

New healthcare clinic offers service close to home

By From page C2 | March 04, 2014

All set up to treat everything from an ingrown toenail to diabetes is a spanking new healthcare facility in Cameron Park.

Officially open Feb. 25, this is the third health care clinic operated by the El Dorado County Community Health Center (EDCCHC). The others are at 4327 Golden Center Drive and 464 Missouri Flat Road in Placerville.

Terri Lee Stratton, executive director of EDCCHC, said the new facility will provide comprehensive health care for patients of all ages with an emphasis on family practice.

That means residents can come in for physicals, well child exams, annual paps and mammograms, chronic disease management care, acute visits, immunizations and for other health-related issues. Additional services for patients include a discount pharmacy program, telemedicine, behavioral health services, podiatry, acupuncture, bilingual health advocates, specialty referral management and online access to personal health records.

For patients whose first language is not English, the center also has a service that can translate in 17 different languages.

Dr. Veronica Velasquez-Morfin, medical director for EDCCHC, said they do more than just address the health needs of patients.

“We do community health and take care of the entire patient, taking into consideration their social and economic stressors,” she said. “So if someone is uninsured and can’t afford to purchase their medications, we have an active patient assistance program that will get them enrolled in a program where they can get free or reduced cost medications. If someone doesn’t have transportation, we’ll give them a gas card. If someone is homeless and has no clothes, we will figure out a way to give them some clothes.

“So we take the entire individual into consideration because we know there are a lot of barriers to care and we want them to thrive,” she continued. “We have a team of people here to take care of patients. Other primary care centers have barriers. They only see private insurance or those with certain kinds of insurance. They don’t see the Medi-Cal population or even the uninsured. Our task is seeing everybody, regardless if they can pay or not.”

EDCCHC currently sees 10,000 patients a year and adds about 200 new patients a month with some of its clients being referrals from Marshall Medical Center which has a facility on the hill overlooking the new health center.

“We are the designated place where Marshall Medical Center sends post hospital discharges. Those who have no primary care or need a home for follow-up care,” said EDCCHC Clinical Director Patrick Klein. “We work with Marshall to coordinate the transition of their care. The before and follow-up care. We want to be the provider of care for the community in general.”

Klein and Stratton said that EDCCHC is a federally qualified nonprofit health center that has operated in the county for over 10 years. With a budget of $6.9 million annually, it receives some of its funding from the federal government but the bulk of it comes from reimbursement for care which could be Medi-Cal, private insurance, or those paying on a sliding scale. About 15 percent of their clients have no health insurance coverage and no way to pay for their care.

“But because we do see everybody, if people have questions have eligibility — well everyone is eligible here,” said Stratton. “We serve all patients, regardless of ability to pay, including Medi-Cal, Medicare, CMSP (County Medical Services Program) and most private insurance. Those uninsured can get a discount using our sliding scale fee payment based on family size and income.”

“And if there are additional services they need, we can point them in the right direction,” Stratton said. “To have good health, we recognize that people aren’t just defined by their health. Their situation in life has an influence. We try to remove the barriers to coming in … If we see needs that they have, we try to address them.”

Klein said the new building has a lab, nursing station and eight exam rooms. They also have a patient assistance team that, among other things, can help people sign up for Covered California, the health exchange for Obamacare in the state.

Dr. Velasquez-Morfin gave one example of a woman who they recently enrolled who had uterine cancer. She is now scheduled for surgery to remove the tumor. “It’s gratifying work,” smiled Velasquez-Morfin.
Stratton said aside from clinic services, EDCCHC regularly does outreach to the community including presentations at schools, holding extra clinic hours so children can get a required physical, and working with partner health organizations.

“We are opening on the 25th and look forward to serving the community of Cameron Park and Shingle Springs,” said Stratton. “So please let people know they are welcome to stop by and avail themselves of our services.”

The new Cameron Park facility will initially be open only two days a week — Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. But they will expand to full-time once they complete the accreditation process, which should take place in the spring or summer of this year. That’s when they will hold a grand opening as well as a health fair.

Their other facilities are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon. The new medical facility is located at 3104 Ponte Morino Drive in Cameron Park. Appointments for any location can be made by calling (530) 621-7700.

Dawn Hodson


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