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Three Orange County community clinics have been awarded a total of nearly $2 million in grants from the Department of Health and Human Services to improve health care access for those who need it the most – the uninsured, underinsured and new Medi-Cal enrollees.
Among Orange County’s beneficiaries are La Habra-based Friends of Family Health Center, which will receive $650,000 in grant funding, and Share Our Selves in Costa Mesa and the Vietnamese Community of Orange County, which will receive $704,167 each.
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced Tuesday that 23 new health center sites in California will get about $14.7 million in Affordable Care Act funding, increasing health care access to 117,583 patients.
Health centers are the keystones in the communities they serve, Burwell said in a statement.
“(The awards) will enable more individuals and families in California to have access to affordable, quality health care that health centers provide,” she said. “That includes the preventive and primary care services that will keep them healthy.”
Funds will help Share Our Selves operate a clinic out of a new building at the El Sol Science and Arts Academy, a charter school in Santa Ana, said CEO Karen McGlinn. Since the fall of 2011, the nonprofit has collaborated with the school to provide social services, screening and urgent care to students and families in the El Sol Community.
The grant will serve as a “building block” for a health center at the newly completed 4,000-square-foot building at 1014 N. Broadway, which is expected to be up and running by July 1, McGlinn said.
“The funding is going to help pay for providers and additional staffing,” she said. “This is an innovative clinic, which not only provides services to the children of the El Sol campus, but also the surrounding community.”
This community consists of hard-working individuals with multiple jobs who are trying to provide for their families, and who are in greatest need of health care, McGlinn said.
“We provide care for anyone who walks in – whether they are uninsured, underinsured or undocumented,” she said.
Tricia Nguyen, CEO of Vietnamese Community of Orange County, said she was so happy to hear about the grant that she was ready to do cartwheels.
“It’s such a big deal for a clinic that has an operating budget of $1.5 million,” said Nguyen, who heads the organization which was set up in 1979 to provide social services for refugees who were pouring into Orange County from Vietnam after the fall of Saigon and the communist takeover.
Now, Vietnamese Community of Orange County provides social services and help for seniors including hot meals, transportation and food assistance. The organization also operates a community clinic, the Southland Health Center in Garden Grove, which provides medical, dental and mental health services.
“With this grant, we hope to hire more providers, dentists and behavioral health experts,” Nguyen said. “We can now have so many things we didn’t have before – better infrastructure and updated computer systems.”
The Friends of Family Health Center, which is based in La Habra, plans to open a new clinic in Tustin with funding from the grant, said CEO Bahram Bahremand. The location for the new clinic is yet to be determined, but under the conditions of the grant, it must be open to the public by Oct. 1, he said. The clinic will focus on primary care services and be staffed with dental and ob-gyn specialists, Bahremand said.
“The goal of this grant is to provide comprehensive health care services and take care of those who are uninsured and underprivileged,” he said. “It’s also to help those with Medi-Cal so there is better access to quality care.”