Providence and Health Net Team Up to Provide Health Services to the Chronically Ill and Uninsured in San Fernando Valley

Mobile Clinic Picks Up Where RAM Leaves Off to Improve Community Health

VAN NUYS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Providence Health & Services and the Health Net Foundation announced today the availability of a mobile clinic that provides ongoing health services to uninsured and chronically ill patients. The program also promotes the establishment of community-based walking groups to prevent the development of complications from chronic medical conditions.

Health Net Foundation announced during a press conference held at St. Elisabeth Catholic Church in Van Nuys, one of the mobile clinic’s regular stops, a $200,000 contribution spread out over two years to support the mobile clinic. The grant supports Health Net, Inc.’s new corporate social responsibility program, Health Net Healthy Communities, which focuses on increasing access to care in underserved areas.

“Health Net is proud to be member of the San Fernando Valley community, so there could be no better place to launch a focused effort by the Health Net Foundation to improve access to care for underserved communities,” said Jay Gellert, Health Net Foundation board member.

Providence also contributes funding as well as low-cost lab and diagnostics services to people seen at the mobile clinic.

Dr. Glenn Lopez, a family practitioner, established a medical corporation specializing in mobile health care that operates a mobile medical clinic. With the support of the Health Net Foundation, Providence Health & Services has contracted with Dr. Lopez to offer mobile medical services to 11 San Fernando Valley locations and to expand to seven additional sites. The mobile clinic is presently providing ongoing care to nearly 600 people in neighborhoods in Burbank, Canoga Park, North Hollywood, Pacoima, Reseda, San Fernando, Sun Valley, Sylmar, Tujunga and Van Nuys. Most of the clinic’s patients suffer from chronic illnesses such as diabetes or heart disease and cannot afford important follow-up visits with private physicians.

The need for an ongoing solution to serve patients with no access to health care was illustrated at the recent Remote Area Medical clinics held in Los Angeles, where more than 6,200 individuals were provided basic health, vision and dental treatment by volunteers, but all went home with few options to obtain further care or follow up. This innovative collaboration between Providence Health & Services and the Health Net Foundation is fulfilling a crucial need for ongoing and follow-up care for Valley uninsured residents.

“Thanks to the support of Providence and the Health Net Foundation, we are addressing – at the community level – the treatment of chronic conditions. In doing that we are averting problems that occur when people can’t access or afford care for themselves and go on to develop serious complications that land them in emergency rooms,” Dr. Lopez said.

He hopes this idea catches on nationwide to help address America’s health care crisis. According to a 2006 study by the California HealthCare Foundation, treating chronic disease, such as diabetes, accounts for 80 percent of the nation’s total health care bill. Early diagnosis, treatment and education coupled with outreach programs to instill healthy practices throughout the community will help reduce those costs while improving quality of life.

Dr. Lopez has outfitted a 34-foot trailer with a private exam room and a waiting area that serves as a conversation area for patients who often share tips in dealing with chronic maladies. The clinic has become an integral part of several Valley communities and a lifesaver for patients.

Leticia Hernandez has heart trouble and her husband's employer recently dropped the company-provided medical insurance.

“We had insurance for 35 years and now when we need it, we don’t have it,” Leticia said. “Dr. Lopez is amazing. He takes his time, he explains everything and he makes sure I can get my medicine. He really cares about his patients.”

Dr. Lopez sees his patients regularly and even meets with family members to answer questions and to ensure medical instructions are followed at home. Mobile clinic visits cost $15 and Dr. Lopez refers patients to pharmacies that offer more affordable medications.

Prevention and adoption of healthy lifestyles are key components of the clinic’s outreach. Dr. Lopez and his small staff have developed “Walking in Community,” an active wellness group and exercise program. Its original goal in the community of Sun Valley was to get 200 to 400 people out walking in their neighborhoods, yet the program has achieved dramatic results with more than 3,000 people having participated, 40 percent of them children walking with their families. The program is now being extended throughout the San Fernando Valley.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and Los Angeles Councilman Tony Cardenas are key supporters of the walking groups, the mobile clinic and Dr. Lopez’s larger effort to lay the groundwork for healthier communities.

“This event is so personal for me because I lost my father to diabetes,” Councilman Cardenas said. “If he would have walked a few miles a day, learned how to eat better and gotten medical exams on a regular basis, he might have been here to see his grandkids today. It is a priority for me to give my community better access to health services, especially in these hard economic times.”

“We are seeing the future of health care here in the east San Fernando Valley, and it works,” Supervisor Yaroslavsky added. “Thanks to innovative efforts like those of Dr. Lopez to promote fitness and bring medical services out into the community – with the support of visionary providers like Health Net and Providence – we're moving to a preventive and cost-effective system based on maintaining wellness, not just treating sickness."

About Providence Health & Services

Providence Health & Services, California, is a Catholic, not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing quality and compassionate health care and reaching out to the poor and the vulnerable in the communities it serves. Providence California operates five acute care medical centers in the Los Angeles area: Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, Providence Tarzana Medical Center, Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Centers in Torrance and San Pedro. The region also has numerous ancillary facilities including Hospice care, long-term care, numerous outpatient clinics and a high school.

About the Health Net Foundation

Based in Woodland Hills, Calif., the Health Net Foundation was created in 2007 as a philanthropic arm of Health Net, Inc. (NYSE: HNT), one of the nation’s largest publicly traded managed care companies. The Health Net Foundation’s mission is to serve as a resource to improve people’s health in underserved communities that Health Net, Inc. serves. To achieve its goals, the Foundation supports programs that improve access to health care services and promote wellness and prevention.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=6282883&lang=en



CONTACT:

Health Net Foundation
Christina Sanchez Camino
310-420-1135 (cell)
[email protected]
or
Providence Health & Services
Patricia Aidem
818-631-7429 (cell)
[email protected]

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Dr. Glenn Lopez, medical director of the Providence mobile clinic, is "open for business" in 10 neighborhoods throughout the San Fernando Valley in Southern California. As a result of funding from the Health Net Foundation and Providence Health & Services, Dr. Lopez will be able to expand the mobile clinic's outreach to additional patients with chronic conditions. (Photo: Business Wire)
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Thanks to the support of the Health Net Foundation and Providence Health & Services the mobile clinic makes community "house calls" to see patients with chronic conditions in 10 neighborhoods through the San Fernando Valley in Southern California. To make an appointment, call 1 888 HEALING (1 888 432 5464). (Photo: Business Wire)

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