|Patients Navigate Newfound Freedom and Health with La Clínica|
|Closing Workforce Gap in Behavioral Health|
|New Legacy Donor: Patty Mintz|
|Children's Hospital Oakland Dental Clinic Has Moved|
|All That Jazz (& Sushi!) Recap|
Patients Navigate Newfound Freedom and Health with La Clínica
By Geovanni Ximénez-Garcia y Monteón, Communications Assistant
The day before being released from prison after having served more than 28 years, Lawrence Finney was told there was a kidney available for him to receive as a transplant.
He was eager to be free, but he was also exhausted from the pain from dialysis, so he accepted the transplant and spent an additional two months in prison receiving care.
Lawrence had developed kidney failure while incarcerated in New York State because he was prescribed two medications that interacted with each other and was never properly monitored. Patients prescribed these two medications normally have their creatinine levels checked every two weeks; his hadn't been checked in five years.
After receiving his kidney transplant and completing two months in care, he was released and given medication for two months, but otherwise had been given no post-release care plan. He spent several days in New York but decided to move to the West Coast to be closer to family.
When he arrived in California, he had less than two weeks of medication left, no primary care doctor, and he was desperate to control some complications that had arisen with his transplant.
To make matters worse, he did not know how to navigate his new environment or where to turn for help.
His only break came when, as a recently released parolee, he was required to attend a Parole and Collaborative Team (PACT) meeting and it was there that he saw a glimmer of hope.
"After all the presentations were done, the first person I went to see was Ms. MaDonna Garcia-Crowley and I told her about my plight," he recalls. "Next thing I know I'm at La Clínica within four days."
A Clinic to Call Home
Lawrence was linked to care through La Clínica's North Vallejo Transitions Clinic. After seeing the worsening impact of incarceration in Solano County, La Clínica established the Clinic in September of 2016 in order to address the health and social needs of the re-entry population.
This program was modeled after and is part of the larger Transitions Clinic Network. It is one out of only 25 health centers in the United States and Puerto Rico that provide a medical home for formerly incarcerated community members with chronic health conditions, mental disorders, and/or a history of substance use.
MaDonna Garcia-Crowley, a community health worker (CHW) at La Clínica, serves as the point person for the program, regularly attends community meetings to inform individuals about services, and recruits new patients through coordination with the Solano County jails and parole system, as well as from the broader community.
And as someone who has also been incarcerated in the past, MaDonna is well-equipped to connect with former prisoners and build a relationship of trust. Together with the program's integrated medical team, they ensure each patient's pressing issues are thoroughly addressed.
Bridging the Gap in Care
For patients like Lawrence, having a proper plan and support network after incarceration can have serious implications. That's because transitioning back into society from prison is not only difficult; it can also be deadly. According to a study conducted in Washington State and published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2007, former prison inmates are 12 times likelier to die than other state residents in the first two weeks after release from prison.
Conditions inside prisons like poor diet, overcrowding, violence and assaults, and risk factors for infectious disease contribute to poor health while incarcerated; consequently, many prisoners are sicker upon release than at admission. And while health care is constitutionally guaranteed in prisons and jails, that responsibility ends upon release.
The same 2007 study also found that interventions are necessary to reduce the risk of death after release from prison. The goal of the Transitions Clinic is to fill in some of these gaps by providing continuity of care and supporting former inmates as they face the challenge of reintegration.
In the last year and a half, the Transitions Clinic has served more than 64 patients. In the six months after enrollment, most patients report improved mental health, physical health, and decreased blood pressure.
When patients are first connected to the Clinic, the medical provider and medical assistant conduct a comprehensive patient intake of both physical and mental health and develop a unique care plan.
The Transitions Clinic not only offers tailored health care services to re-entry patients, but also addresses other social determinants of health that may impede better health outcomes. Patients are assessed for other needs such as food insecurity, lack of adequate housing, employment, and skills needed for re-acclimation. Uninsured patients are helped to enroll into a health plan, provided navigation services, and connected with community resources available to them.
In addition, community partnerships with organizations like the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano County, Partnership HealthPlan of California, and Touro University, among others, have been integral in meeting the array of non-medical needs of this patient population
The most common types of referrals are for housing, employment, transportation, and food. Ninety-one percent of referrals made through the Transitions Clinic have been successfully accessed by patients.
With La Clínica's support, Lawrence was hired part-time with United Postal Service as a seasonal package deliverer helper.
"Not only have they helped me in receiving medical attention, but also with housing, and trying to get a job. They are an abundance of wealth and information. It's everything you'd ever want," he says.
Moreover, La Clínica North Vallejo Transitions Clinic is the only one in the Network that partners with county detention centers to offer iWebVisits to inmates to ensure continuity of care. The care team reviews lists of soon-to-be-released inmates and recruits prior patients, seniors, and transients, all of whom are most at risk.
Hope for a Brighter Future
Having such a vital resource readily available has empowered and enabled patients like Lawrence to have productive lives after prison. He sometimes shares his journey with Transitions Clinic at the same PACT meetings where he was first linked to care in 2017. He hopes to assist other people like himself who have chronic conditions and a history of incarceration.
"They're kind, they're loving, and they're caring," he says of La Clínica. "I would recommend anyone that's coming out of prison, or anyone who doesn't have a physician or doctor in general, to go to La Clínica because they offer so much more than the fine care they give you."
Lawrence is still adapting to the outside world after spending more than half his life in prison, but he's staying active and feels optimistic about the future. For now, he's living each day as a privilege not to be taken for granted, he says.
CLOSING THE WORKFORCE GAP IN BEHAVIORAL HEALTH
Since 1973, La Clínica has provided culturally appropriate behavioral health services to diverse populations. While access to behavioral health insurance coverage has significantly improved in the last two decades, many in our community with mental illnesses and substance use disorders still lack access to culturally appropriate treatment services. La Clínica has long recognized this challenge and has trained over hundreds of master's level residents and interns, most of whom have joined the workforce as culturally competent behavioral health clinicians through La Clínica's Behavioral Health Training Center.
La Clínica's Behavioral Health Training Center provides a graduate clinician training program with dynamic supervision from LCSWs, LMFTs, Licensed Psychologists, a Board Certified Psychiatrist, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners, with an emphasis in providing culturally responsive, evidence-based, recovery-oriented, and trauma-informed practice for the Latinx* community. The training also includes Didactic sessions taught by seasoned clinicians, co-located UC Berkeley and Stanford University faculty, and indigenous healers as well as one-way mirror supervision.
In 2018, third and fourth year psychiatric residents, and psychiatric nurse practitioner interns were added to the trainee group to create a multidisciplinary learning environment. The Center also serves as a research incubator that engages in projects that integrates clinical training with best treatment practices for the Latinx community. The Center currently partners with UC Berkeley, School of Social Welfare; Cal State East Bay; California Institute for Integral Studies; Alliant University; SFSU, Department of Social Work; The Wright Institute; Stanford University, School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry; and UCSF College of Nursing.
For more information, contact Casa Del Sol Manager Joseph Perales at 510-535-6200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Latinx* is a gender-neutral term used instead of Latino or Latina.
Leslie Preston Memorial Fund
You can make an impact on the future of the workforce by supporting a behavioral health student intern today.
Established in memory of Leslie Preston, LCSW who dedicated 19 years of service to La Clínica as its Behavioral Health Director, this fund honors Leslie's deep commitment to developing future culturally competent workforce members needed by our community.
Your support will provide graduate student interns financial support as they face increasing educational costs, student debt, and high costs of living in the Bay Area.
Text PRESTON to 50155 and make your gift today.
Welcome To Our New Legacy Donor: Patty Mintz
Patty Mintz started as an annual fund donor more than a decade ago and recently made a legacy gift by designating La Clínica in her estate plans. We are excited to welcome her as one of our new legacy donors.
Patty Mintz recently retired from a 40 year career focused on enhancing access and coverage to health care for vulnerable populations. She had a variety of management positions focused on planning with Kaiser Permanente, spent six years working as a consultant on health care access and finance to the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, and USAID in over a dozen Latin American countries. Most recently she has been a consultant/contract grants officer with several California Foundations whose work focuses on improving health care. She has a BA in psychology from Yale University and an MBA in health economics and policy from Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
"By supporting La Clínica, I can help assure that people who might not otherwise have access to quality health care can do so in facilities with the outmost quality and cultural competence."
Why did you decide to support La Clínica?
I've lived in Oakland for over 30 years, working first with Kaiser Permanente and then as a consultant focusing on increasing access to coverage and care for vulnerable populations. Several close friends of mine have been active with La Clínica and its mission, values, and geography spoke strongly to me. Much of my paid and volunteer work has focused on increasing equity -- whether in health care, education, or housing for those who have the least.
We are grateful for the generosity of donors like Patty who make our work possible.
Please consider creating your own legacy by making a gift today, and including La Clínica in your estate plans. Even a small amount can go a long way in making a difference in a patient's life.
La Clínica Children's Dental Clinic is now at 4881 Telegraph Ave in Oakland!
By Anita Gundi, Projects Administrator
This dental clinic moved from its previous home at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland hospital building to this 6,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility. The beautifully designed space has 13 dental chairs with ample space for more dentists and for residents of the hospital to complete their clinical rotations. La Clínica continues to partner with UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital as it accommodates many more children who are on a waiting list to receive critical dental services in a timely manner. La Clínica extends its gratitude to the many supporters who have given to the project and the hospital's construction services team for spearheading the building project. Thank you!
All That Jazz (& Sushi!) Recap
This year we celebrated our 47th Anniversary of connecting communities to better health.
We were excited to host more than 300 of our corporate partners, donors, and community members to celebrate the accomplishments of La Clínica at Yoshi's in Oakland. Guests danced to the Latin jazz rhythms of the legendary Pete Escovedo and his Orchestra all evening. Thank you to our sponsors and donors for supporting and investing in our communities. Together, we were raised more than $95,725 at the event alone and $325,360 overall - the most to date!
These funds will modernize our information technology (IT) systems in order to provide our workforce with real-time information and the resources needed to deliver high quality integrated patient care and provide a seamless patient care experience.
Thank you to all our sponsors, supporters, and everyone who made the evening such a great success!
"I love supporting La Clínica's mission of providing healthcare to all. La Clínica's programs help fill the much needed healthcare gaps in our communities."
- Glenna Carraway-Idowu, CTP, Union Bank
"It was a musician's musical pleasure for [Pete] Escovedo and his Orchestra to perform before such an exciting crowd that knows how to have a good time. We perform at many corporate functions but La Clínica knows how to party. The best gig yet."
- Victor Pamiroyan, Pete Escovedo Orchestra
Click here to see more pictures from the gala!