Los Angeles County To Open Nation’s Largest School-Based Community Health Clinic
Los Angeles County officials and the University of California-Los Angeles have agreed to partner with the Los Angeles Unified School District to open by 2007 a 14-room, 10,070-square-foot community health clinic on the grounds of Sun Valley Middle School, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. The clinic, which will be the country's largest school-based community health clinic, will provide medical, mental health, dental and vision care for all community residents. The community clinic also would educate patients and their families about preventive health care and health insurance options.
The LAUSD board on Jan. 17 is expected to choose among several not-for-profit health centers currently bidding for the clinic contract. The board has requested that those bidding for the contract propose remaining open on nights and weekends.
Of about 3,000 students enrolled in Sun Valley Middle School, 90% qualify for federally subsidized meals. In addition, more than 50% of the school's students are not fluent in English.
Some health experts have said the clinic would serve as a "prototype" for other areas that have a high concentration of low-income residents without health insurance, the Daily News reports. The clinic also is expected to decrease truancy levels and increase the number of students who receive health care.
Sun Valley Middle School Principal Jeff Davis said, "It's going to be an absolute benefit to this community. As far as the annual checkup goes, [students are] just not getting it."
Margaret Lee, director of special projects for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, said, "It's going to be the first of its kind. Sun Valley is a very undeserved area. There's practically no place for them to go. There's no county clinic within a close proximity" (Radcliffe, Los Angeles Daily News, 11/15).