Katie Hill is at the newly reopened clinic on Martin Luther King Boulevard. She says the center will now fill the gap for her mental health care. The county just told her she couldn’t get services at her usual clinic.
“They had to ship their patients off other places because of the budget cuts and that’s why, that’s why I’m coming here now.”
The revival of the Oak Park facility will take some stress off the county’s struggling clinic network. And serve the people who used to depend on it.
“It seemed like a resource that was just too important to lose.”
That’s Robert Caulk, the CEO of another nonprofit clinic system, The Effort. Caulk says The Effort has grown its budget by about $3 million. The bump came from federal stimulus dollars and other grants. And the clinic will get more money because of its new federal center designation. With this extra funding, Caulk says he told the county:
“We could reopen the clinic with our staff and provide services as much as we had in the past.”
Plus there will be new services. Caulk says The Effort will provide addiction services and expand mental health care. And, it’s adding a dental clinic for kids.
Caulk says other providers chipped in as well to reopen the clinic. Together Sutter Medical Center and Kaiser Permanente contributed almost $500,000.
“They instantly recognized, at both Sutter and Kaiser, that it was the right thing to do. Better primary care in the community is going to reduce the demand for services, namely in the emergency department and inpatient.”
Caulk says the newly renamed The Effort Oak Park Community Health Center will serve about 2,000 patients a year. And Katie Hill says now that she can’t get services at her old clinic she’ll definitely be among those patients.
“People in this neighborhood they really need it, and eventually I’ll be moving back to this neighborhood and it is good to know that it is here for you when you need it.”
And The Effort says with its new funding sources – and Sacramento County not charging rent for the building - it plans to keep the clinic in Oak Park running for a long time.