Ventura County Grand Jury Report Cites Lack of Urgent Care Clinics in East County
A Ventura County grand jury report released this week found that a shortage of urgent care clinics in the eastern part of the county is forcing the uninsured and Medi-Cal beneficiaries to travel to clinics in the western part of the county or pay out-of-pocket for services at private clinics, the Ventura County Star reports. County urgent care clinics accept patients with health coverage through a private insurer or Medi-Cal and also offer state- and county-funded medical services to uninsured patients. Richard Hawley, foreman of the grand jury, said the county urgent care clinics are for "people who don't have the means to have a private doctor." According to the grand jury investigation, four of eight urgent care centers listed in the Ventura County Health Care Agency directory are not considered urgent care clinics by their personnel. In addition, two clinics direct patients without private insurance or Medi-Cal coverage to nearby county or private clinics or local emergency departments. Patients who cannot afford care at EDs or private clinics must travel to the western portion of the county for urgent care, which can be difficult for those who lack a driver's license or share a car, according to Frances Kurowski, a family resources specialist with Conejo Valley Neighborhood for Learning. The grand jury recommended that the county health agency address the need for urgent care clinics in the eastern portion of the county. Hawley said that the agency has 90 days to respond to the report (Gonzalez, Ventura County Star, 5/13).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.