Consortium Quarterly - Winter 2015

San Francisco Community Clinic Consortium’s Quarterly Newsletter

  • MNHC goes DENTAL!
  • Staff Spotlight
  • Socks For SF’s Homeless fundraiser
  • Physician shortage
  • Holiday note from the SFCCC President/CEO

In this issue:

Mission Neighborhood Health Center To Provide Dental Services

Mission Neighborhood Health Center recently announced that they will now offer dental services to their patients – great news! To learn more about the lack of dental care at community health centers, check out this recent UCLA study:

Many community health clinics lack dental care, study finds

If you are interested in learning more about Mission Neighborhood Health Center’s dental services, please contact the clinic at 415-552-3870.

SFCCC’s New Recruit


SFCCC recently welcomed Alana McGrath to the staff as a member of the Street Outreach Services (SOS) and Veterinary Street Outreach Services (Vet SOS) teams. We had an opportunity to sit down with her to discuss her background and new position at SFCCC.

 I am originally from Encinitas, a beach town in San Diego known for having the most yoga per capita of any city in the U.S. I have my B.S. in health science from UC Santa Cruz (go Banana Slugs!). While in college, I interned at the Santa Cruz AIDS Project, which is where I developed an interest in public health. My most recent job was at the SF SPCA, where I worked in the adoption center helping animals find new families!

I was drawn to SFCCC because the Vet SOS outreach worker position combines two of my interests, animal welfare and public health. This job is my dream!

I hope to gain lots of knowledge on how to navigate care opportunities for homeless individuals while at SFCCC. I am also looking forward to learning all about the inner workings of an awesome network of clinics! I would like the homeless people and pets of San Francisco to be healthier when I leave SFCCC than when I started.

Here is a picture of me with a scaredy puppy at the SPCA, and a very glamorous picture of my roommate’s Chihuahua on the left and my super handsome dog (Bruno) on the right. They were celebrating Friday with sombreros.

Socks for San Francisco’s Homeless Fundraiser

As the cold Bay Area winter approaches, Manny Gonzalez, SFCCC’s Street Outreach Services Outreach Manager, is asking for your support for the "Socks for San Francisco's Homeless" fundraiser on Generosity.

 There are a few ways to help:

  1. Donate - Everything helps. Even small donations have a big impact.
  2. Post to Facebook - The more people who hear about us, the more likely we are to meet our target.
  3. Share with your community - Call your friends, tell your co-workers, make an announcement at your organization's event to spread the word.

 Generosity has zero platform fees, so your donation goes farther to help us reach our goal!

 Please visit this website if you are interested in more information or in making a donation, click here.

Physician Shortage – A Pressing Issue

While physician shortage challenges may differ from state to state, we asked John Gressman, SFCCC President/CEO, to provide his perspective on physician shortages in California’s community health centers.

 Our country is facing a dilemma: a shortage of doctors is beginning to hamper access to health care. Across the country, the number of doctors practicing primary care has been dwindling for years – and continues to decline. Medical residents, often burdened by educational debts exceeding $200,000, are increasingly choosing careers in research, technology and sub-specialty care. The physician shortage is impacting not only primary care; patients are beginning to experience long wait times for specialist appointments as well.

Here in San Francisco, with housing and living costs soaring, the problem is especially pronounced. Physicians, especially medical residents, are choosing to practice in other, more affordable areas of the state and country. We need to develop solutions today. If we don’t, long wait times for appointments will result in unnecessary health complications in San Francisco and across the country.

What are some solutions? Federal and state governments, especially ours here in California, need to increase the number of medical residency training slots. SFCCC’s partner health centers and health centers across California, which are the only source of care for thousands of patients, need increased government and private support for medical school loan repayment programs. Hospitals could increase residency training programs in health centers, with hospitals covering program administration costs. And we need to create new models of care that expand the roles of nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

SFCCC is busy addressing the physician shortage through redesign of patient care systems. One important strategy is team-based care, in which SFCCC provides ongoing technical assistance to our partner health centers. In team-based care, each patient is assigned to a primary care provider – a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant – of their choice. The care team, which includes the provider, a nurse, a medical assistant, and other key staff, meets every morning to review the day’s patients and determine patient-specific care strategies. This model maximizes health care professionals’ skills, improves the quality of care, reduces clinician time, and increases access to care for all patients.

The SFCCC partnership is committed to doing everything possible to ensure that our patients have timely access to care. But the fact remains that the physician shortage has larger, systemic roots, and needs large-scale, systemic responses. And we need to act immediately.

Physician recruitment and retention remains a critical topic at community health centers. For background on this issue, click here for an article from the Orlando Sentinel titled “How health care will look with a physician shortage.”

A Holiday Note From SFCCC’s President/CEO

If I had only one wish for my friends, donors, partners, supporters, and patients this holiday season, it would be for congress and the president to make the Affordable Care Act an ongoing federal program, just like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. 

In the past two years, I have seen my friends, family, and neighbors gain a new sense of security because they now have affordable health insurance with decent coverage. Greg, a close family friend, found himself in the hospital following a heart attack. He had insurance, but the plan was so bad and so costly that it failed to adequately cover the ICU costs! As he recovered, he tossed and turned in his hospital bed worrying about the cost of each IV bag, each injection to save his life, each nurse visit to check on his recovery. Greg ended up with a hospital bill of over $40,000. Initially uncertain of how to pay it off, he was eventually able to – working three jobs to make it happen.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Greg has been able to drop his high-deductible plan and enroll in a better plan with better coverage. He’s back on his feet, and back to his regular job. Hopefully, health care will never be as big of a challenge for him – or anyone – again. 

My holiday wish for this season is for every person in this country to be able to enjoy life, free from worries about health insurance or whether they can afford the care they need.

-John W. Gressman, MSW, MA