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Annual Report Information
A Conversation with Our Leadership
Dr. Felix L. Nuñez Interim CEO and CMO of Family Health Care Centers of Greater Los Angeles, and Board President Jeff Siccama, talk about what FHCCGLA means to the community – and what the community means to Family Health Care Centers.
What do you think is the most important thing FHCCGLA does?
JS: Times are tough, and you’ve got families who can only afford to insure a few people, usually the parents don’t receive the medical attention they need, in order to give their children the right medical care. I think the most important thing we aim to do, and I think we’ve accomplished it, is to provide health care for the entire family.
What do you think life would be like for members of the community without Family Health Care Centers?
FN: In many respects FHCCGLA is both a medical home and refuge for low income and uninsured residents who are struggling to access high quality primary care services. Without access to the services we provide I fear that many of our patients would be forced to utilize emergency room services or suffer unnecessarily. As a federally qualified community health center we see ourselves as part of the life of the cities we serve, as a consequence our success is measured not only by the health of the individual patient, but also by the health of the community.
What is FHCCGLA doing to prepare itself to become a patient center medical home?
FN: We are most definitely working to prepare ourselves for patient centered medical home certification. In fact we have already begun the process by moving forward with an electronic health record system. Our plans call for full implementation in the fall of 2012 which would greatly enhance our ability to coordinate care with both internal and external entities. This coordination is the first real and vital step towards becoming a patient centered medical home.
What does ‘community health’ mean to you?
JS: I think ‘community health’ means a healthy environment. There have been reports that in the next ten years 60-70% of Americans are going to be obese. That’s not a healthy community. So I think where we start to change that is locally, providing education and medical care.
What do you think about health care reform? Is it going to benefit the clinic and patients?
FN: My own belief is that health care is a basic human right and it is our duty as a society to do everything in our power to create a system of care that focuses on the whole patient using evidence based therapies. In short, I support any attempt to increase access to health care services and improve the quality of services provided. My understanding of the federal health reform legislation is that it strives to do these very things by aligning incentives to purchase health insurance, and by rewarding providers who achieve certain quality measures. In addition the legislation moves us to better coordinate the services we provide. The benefit to FHCCGLA of this legislation lies in the focus on improving access and quality.
Recognizing the need for greater access to primary care services, in 2001 the organization officially became Family Health Care Centers of Greater Los Angeles (FHCCGLA) and expanded its scope of services to include primary care for men, women, and children. With two full time sites, the Bell Gardens Family Medical Center and the Hawaiian Gardens Health Center, and two part time facilities scheduled open in early 2012, FHCCGLA is making a significant impact in the lives of residents of Southeastern Los Angeles.
I joined FHCCGLA to fulfill our Kaiser Permanante mission which states “KP exists to provide high quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve”. -Binesh Batra, M.D.
With our main administrative and clinical facility located in Bell Gardens, we are the only Federally Qualified Community Health Center based in Southeast Los Angeles, and as such we are compelled to engage directly with community leaders and agencies to improve the quality of life for residents. We serve a population that can at times experience a great deal of physical, medical, and emotional stress which requires us to do more then the typical medical clinic.
Many Bell Gardens residents are low-income or working at jobs that do not provide any significant benefits including health insurance. Because of high premium costs, many are unable to afford private health insurance coverage, as a consequence a large number go without medical care.
Health issues confronting our patients include an epidemic of childhood obesity, high levels of teen pregnancy, high rates of chronic disease, and lack of access to nutritious food options. These health concerns when coupled with the social pressures brought on by poverty, result in many residents of our community being at a much higher risk of premature death and disability.
This relationship between health and poverty were highlighted in a December 2011 LA Times article focusing on the disparity in rates of pediatric obesity between residents of Bell Gardens and Manhattan Beach. The story details the challenges faced by residents of our community who struggle to gain access to good nutritional options and safe areas for physical activity. Here at FHCCGLA we have focused on working with likeminded community leaders who seek to take on the challenge of building a healthier community, through programs such as our Campaign For A Healthier Bell Gardens and Renew LA.
How We Help
With a fully bilingual staff FHCCGLA reflects the makeup of our patient population 94% of whom are Latino. Our clinicians are dedicatedto our mission and are sensitive to the community’s cultural practices and beliefs. That awareness helps clinicians address the health and social issues that are most important to our patients.
Our Bell Gardens Medical Center is co-location with a Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC) program site and a Mothers Nutritional Center, ensuring easy access to good nutritional options for infants and pregnant women. This close proximity creates an environment of care that stresses the connection between nutrition and physical health.
Patient Voices Are Heard
FHCCGLA is motivated to meet our patients’ needs. As a participant in the Federally Qualified Health Center Program, 51% of our Board of Directors is composed of patients, enabling them to be directly involved in governance of our community health center. in addition fhccgla conducts regular patient satisfactions surveys and community needs assessments which helps to guide the leadership of the health center.
Healthy Women, Healthy Families
When Dr. Brainerd and his colleagues started their work with the Los Angeles community, information and resources concerning women’s healthcare needs was generally not available to woman in a typical clinical setting. Our founders conviction that knowledge of healthcare issues for woman would lead to better outcomes for children and families lead to the bold venture that was The Mother’s Clinic, and carries on today at Family Health Care Centers of Greater Los Angeles.
“I strongly believe that Public Service is based on a basic principle; that is to improve the quality of life of the people you work for or represent. And I can testify that the Clinic FHCCGLA (and its administrators) has been a pillar in the community of Bell Gardens providing a strong support to fulfill that principle.” -Sergio Infanzon, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Bell Gardens
Head to Toe Health Care for Families
Patients at Bell Gardens Family Medical Center receive high quality health care.
Our facility operates a pediatric unit that provides infant and child physical exams, hearing and vision evaluations and vaccinations. Special screenings for developmental issues and childhood obesity are available.
Adolescent Health Care
Young adults are welcome at the Center where we offer general health services as well as educate teens about sexually transmitted diseases, contraception and pregnancy prevention.
Adult Health Care
Men and women can come to FHCCGLA for general medical care as well as diagnosis and management of chronic conditions, preventive health screenings and referrals to medical specialists or social service organizations when needed. We provide a full array of Well Woman services and screenings.
Childhood Obesity Awareness-Partnering with Community Leadership
Growing awareness of the dangers of childhood obesity has come from a greater understanding of the impact of this disease on the individual and community. Research has demonstrated that as these children become obese adults they have a significant risk for premature death and disability related to conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, arthritis, coronary artery disease, and cancer.
FHCCGLA recognizes that efforts to improve the health of our community must begin by tackling the epidemic of obesity among our children. The following page of this report details some of the efforts we have made to not only increase awareness of childhood obesity, but to enact programs that provide measurable results. Our Campaign for a Healthier Bell Gardens has worked to teach gardening and healthy eating skills to children, and our RENEW LA initiative has changed civic policies that influence the availability of high calorie soft drinks marketed to young children and adolescents. Experience has shown us that these types of programs cannot succeed without the partnership of community agencies and leaders.
We thank the city councils of Bell Gardens and Maywood, the Bell Gardens department of Parks & Recreation, the leadership of the Montebello Unified School District, Lynwood Unified School District, and the Los Angeles Department of Public Health all of whom have help form a successful collaboration.
Campaign for a Healthier Bell Garden
In 2008, FHCCGLA was granted funding through the Community Clinic Initiative, which seeks to encourage community health centers to become catalysts for change in their patient population. With this support, FHCCGLA created the Campaign for a Healthier Bell Gardens. The Campaign brings together the Bell Gardens Chamber of Commerce, the school district and other local organizations to hold events in the city that promote healthy lifestyle choices, offer educational information and let residents know about FHCCGLA and the services available to them here.
School Gardens and Farmer’s Markets
To increase public understanding of good nutrition and stimulate a community conversation about how changes in eating habits can contribute to better health, the Campaign partnered with the Bell Gardens Intermediate School Gardening Program to participate in the students’ monthly Farmer’s Market with a mobile medical clinic. FHCCGLA has also helped the School Gardening Program expand to both Bell Gardens Elementary and Bell Gardens High School, where it has become enormously popular. The community response to the Farmer’s Markets has been positive, and the children working in the gardens cultivate self-esteem and pride in accomplishment while also sharing fresh, healthy foods with their families.
The Campaign partnered with the Bell Gardens Intermediate School Gardening Program to participate in the students’ monthly Farmer’s Market with a mobile medical clinic. FHCCGLA has also helped the School Gardening Program expand to both Bell Gardens Elementary and Bell Gardens High School, where it has become enormously popular.
The community response to the Farmer’s Markets has been positive, and the children working in the gardens cultivate self-esteem and pride in accomplishment while also sharing fresh, healthy foods with their families.
I have been part of the board for several years. This has allowed me to see firsthand the dedication that FHCCGLA has towards the community they serve. -Mayra Majano Direct Choice Financial Inc.
Project RENEW LA
In 2011, Family Health Care Centers of Greater Los Angeles (FHCCGLA) as a partner in the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s RENEW initiative began implementing healthy policies and environmental changes to improve nutrition and reduce obesity in the cities of Bell Gardens and Maywood. FHCCGLA and RENEW worked on creating and implementing a healthy vending policy increases access to healthy beverages/snacks on city-owned facilities.
On July 25, 2011 Bell Gardens City Council unanimously adopted a healthy vending policy to reduce access to sugar-sweetened beverages available to youth and residents at city facilities, including parks. Before passing the policy, the council heard from several proponents, including city staff and partnering local community-based organizations including FHCCGLA, Campaign for a Healthier Bell Gardens and California Center for Public Health Advocacy. They also heard expert testimony from the LA County Department of Public Health in support of health policy changes as a means of improving population health. Local youth also voiced their support for the policy.
While on policy was adopted by the City of Maywood, FHCCGLA-RENEW LA was able to work to directly educate city council and staff regarding the need to find meaningful way to limit the availability of high calorie soft drinks to children and adolescents. Working closely with the city council and staff FHCCGLA-RENEW LA continues to look for opportunities to impact the community of Maywood.
For more information on healthy eating in Los Angeles County, connect with Choose Health LA online, which represents all of the public health efforts of RENEW LA County.
Visit: Choose Health LA on Twitter, type in Twitter@ChooseHealthLA, and on Facebook and at ChooseHealthLA.com.
Meet Our Newest Doctor
Dr. Somsanith is a board certified in family physician who has been a member of our clinical team for over a year. He is a graduate of the Western University of Health Sciences, and completed his training in Family Medicine at the Downey Regional Medical Center. Dr. Somsanith enjoys working with undeserved populations and took an interest in community health after completing a clinical rotation at FHCCGLA. He speaks medical Spanish.
Our partnership with FHCCGLA blends the expertise and resources of both partners for improved health outcomes for patients, innovative care delivery and a focus on addressing unmet needs in the community. - Sheri Bathurst “Community Benefit Manager” for Kaiser Permanente Downey
Financial Summary from 07/01/2010 to 06/30/2011
“Creating healthy communities has always been central to our mission. Our relationship with FHCCGLA is about partnership in its truest sense. We work together to learn from each other and share our knowledge and resources in a way that addresses the health needs of individual patients and moves the needle on community health.” - Sheri Bathurst, Community Benefit Manager at Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center
A Few Closing Thoughts and Updates from our CEO:
Friends thank you again for taking the time to read through this annual report, please know that we value each of you and the support you have provided us. A special note of thanks goes out to our dedicated Board of Directors, each of whom volunteers their time to govern and oversee the management of our community health center.
Please keep these final notes in mind as we move forward towards a brighter future for all of our indigent and uninsured patients:
Our Downey Family Medical Center is now open and welcoming new patients.
Work is well under way on our new satellite facility in the city Montebello.
Our 2nd Annual Benefit Dinner is scheduled for Wednesday May 30th at the Rio Hondo Event Center. Please call for further details.
FHCCGLA signed an agreement with NextGen Healthcare to implement an electronic medical record system by the end of 2012.
Plans to remodel our Bell Gardens Family Medical Center will allow us to add another provider to this very busy clinic. Look for these improvements to be completed over the next year.
We are looking forward to becoming a certified Patient Centered Medical Home in 2013.
“After 10 years of serving the FHCCGLA Board of Directors, I never doubted that a small group of thoughtful, committed people could change the community, if not the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. “Be the change you want to see in the world” (Gandhi), volunteer and make a difference.” - Marie Bagwell
Board of Directors
Please direct all Board of Directors correspondence to:
Bell Gardens Family Medical Center
Attn: Board of Directors
6501 South Garfield Avenue
Bell Gardens, CA 90201
FHCCGLA would like to express our gratitude to the consultants from Floating TreeHouse Studios who contributed their time and talents to create our annual report: Graphic Designer/ Project Manager: Dawn Siccama