SUPERVISORS SUPPORT PROPOSAL FOR NORTH COUNTY/WEST VALLEY HEALTH CLINIC
SAN JOSE – County Supervisor Joe Simitian today asked the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors to open a County health clinic in the North County/West Valley area he represents. The Board approved the request unanimously.
Currently, there are no County clinics in this area even though the area is home to 400,000 residents; there are more than 39,000 low-income residents in the area who receive health care coverage through Medi-Cal and 20,000 people who already receive their care from Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and could benefit from having a location closer to where they live and work.
Simitian’s district, which includes the communities of Palo Alto, Stanford, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Cupertino, Saratoga, and portions of Sunnyvale and San Jose, is the only Supervisorial District in the County without one of the County’s three hospitals and thirteen primary care Valley Health Centers. “Imagine,” said Simitian, “an area encompassing eight cities and 400,000 folks without a single County health clinic for routine care. For people of modest means, it’s a serious hardship.”
In his proposal to the Board Simitian acknowledged that his District is, “fortunate to have high quality community clinics,” but also observed that, “the survival of clinics like MayView/Ravenswood and Planned Parenthood has been a precarious matter in recent years.”
As Simitian envisions it, a Valley Health Center clinic will supplement the existing services offered by community clinics in the northwest area of the County and complement the dental services, mental health services at allcove, and forthcoming specialty care and pharmacy services in the area championed by Simitian and funded by the County. A County clinic would both strengthen services available and ensure that there will always be affordable, accessible healthcare in the area. It is envisioned that a new clinic would provide primary care, pediatric care, and pharmacy and lab services. As with all County clinics, medical services will be provided to everyone, regardless of their social-economic status and ability to pay.
“The County plays an important role in providing essential health services to all residents,” said Simitian. “A County clinic in our area will create a local resource where people can access a wide range of services while easing the challenges associated with accessing services from Valley Medical Center.”
“It’s essential that all of our residents have access to primary and preventative care, so that they don’t wait too long, end up seriously ill, and then find themselves in the emergency room,” said Simitian. “Having conveniently located, preventative healthcare services takes away some of the stress and worry of visiting a doctor, and allows people to focus on their health, family, work and school. Healthier people can go to work or school and contribute to the community, instead of being sidelined by an illness.”
The County clinic closest to Simitian’s district, Valley Health Center Sunnyvale, is at capacity and sees almost 6,000 residents yearly from Palo Alto to Santa Clara. The addition of a County clinic in the North County/West Valley would drastically reduce the current wait time of 34 days to see a doctor. It is estimated that between 10,000-25,000 local area residents could access care at a North County/West Valley clinic.