ORANGE COUNTY: Nursing Students to Run Santa Ana Clinic
"Delighted to put an end to its tour of medical duty," Orange County discovered a deal that could free them from the "uneasy role as the county health care provider of last resort," the Orange County Register reports. Cal State Long Beach's program for nurse practitioners has offered to take over the county's temporary health clinic established in July to serve the county's poorest residents. The county was forced to establish the clinic after Santa Ana's Free Health Plan closed its clinics, leaving 3,000 people without health care. The agreement, which is up for approval by the county Board of Supervisors on Oct. 19, is a "bargain for all involved." Nursing professors and nursing students, who need to log clinical hours to maintain or earn their licenses, can do so at the clinic, while the county gets out of the health care business, but receives a "full-service, low-cost clinic," since nursing students generally work for free. Nurse practitioners are able write prescriptions and order tests under the supervision of a doctor. Christine Talmadge, chair of the nursing program, said, "Part of our program is being a good neighbor to our community, which includes Orange County. We want to meet people's need, and that's exactly what we'll be able to do." Julie Poulson, acting director of the county's Health Care Agency, said, "There could be a huge payoff for the county as a whole. Nationally, there is a critical shortage of nurses. We're hoping that nurses getting trained here will want to stay here." The county will provide $100,000 for start up costs, with an additional $100,000 coming from the state and private grants (Weston, 10/8).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.