Community Health Centers Assumes Control of San Luis Obispo County’s Family Care Clinics
Community Health Centers of the Central Coast has assumed management of four San Luis Obispo County Family Care Centers and two part-time clinics, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reports (Welton, San Luis Obispo Tribune, 6/20). The transfer comes after the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors in March unanimously voted to contract with the not-for-profit company to operate the county's care center for an estimated annual savings of as much as $2 million (California Healthline, 3/19). The move is expected to improve access to health care in the region by extending operating hours from 5 p.m. on weekdays currently to as late as 8:30 p.m. seven days a week; offering free transportation to offices; and expanding the array of services offered at the clinics, including increasing from two to six the number of facilities providing pediatric, adult and ob/gyn services. As a result, the county expects the facilities will be able to treat 20% more patients, according to Dr. Greg Thomas of the county public health department. Patients also likely will have shorter waiting periods for physician appointments because the contract requires doctors to see patients with urgent needs within one day and others within a week.
According to Gail Wilcox, assistant county administrator, fewer patients will need to seek care in the emergency department because of the clinics' expanded hours. Because CHC rehired about 50 of the 69 employees that the county had laid off, patients will not see a marked change in personnel at the facilities. The new management arrangement also is expected to reduce costs, partly because CHC facilities are classified as federal qualified health centers, which makes them eligible for higher federal reimbursements (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 6/20).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.