HUNTINGTON BEACH: California’s First Lady Praises Community Clinic
California First Lady Gayle Wilson "praised" the Huntington Beach Community Clinic last Thursday "as a model for effective medical care for the uninsured," the Los Angeles Times reports. Receiving the "first-ever Adolescent and Women's Health Award" at the clinic, Wilson "commended a packed room of community dignitaries for rallying to provide comprehensive health care services 'for a population we all know would have nowhere else to go.'" The Times reports that the clinic mostly serves "uninsured, unemployed or divorced women and their children, and part-time workers or students." According to clinic Director Jacqueline Cherewick, about 98% of the patients who come to the clinic are below the poverty line. The nonprofit clinic "provides full-service primary health care with four areas of specialty: obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, internal medicine and orthopedics." In addition, the Times reports that "comprehensive medical and psychological counseling is available on site, and a full-time public education specialist tours local schools to preach the virtues of preventative health care, including HIV testing and prenatal care." Overall, Huntington Beach Community Clinic "serves some 12,000 patients and boasts 59 employees and about 100 volunteers."
According to the Times, Wilson "was pleased to hear from clinic staff that many patients simply walk in for treatment and that appointments are generally scheduled within a week of the request." She said, "A lot of times if the person can't get an appointment, they end up in emergency rooms with more serious problems. That is why preventative care is so important" (Bonney, 3/27).