SANTA BARBARA: Indigent Care Clinics Merge
Three Santa Barbara clinics have merged in an effort to improve health care services for low-income residents without insurance, the News Press reports. By removing the element of competition among them, the merged organization, called Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, will "improve efficiency, provide longer hours and schedule smoother appointments" for the 15,000 lower-income patients it serves. Executive Director Penny Eardley said, "In addition to the financial concern, everyone was committed to improving the quality of medical care." The clinics provide an array of free and low-cost services, including "physical exams, blood pressure checks, HIV testing, pediatric care ... and drug treatment." Eardley said 53% of the clinic's clients have salaries below the poverty level -- "about $16,000 a year for a family of four." She added, "I feel strongly these clinics wil survive. ... But we can't do it without the community's support" (Grant, 7/20).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.