Bell Gardens Health Clinic To Open In Montebello

By Elizabeth Hsing-Huei Chou, EGP Staff Writer

A nonprofit medical clinic serving low-income patients is opening a satellite location at the Reggie Rodriguez Park Community Center in Montebello.

The Bell Gardens-based Family Health Care Centers of Greater Los Angeles is expecting to open its new Montebello clinic in March. Construction begins this week.

The new Montebello satellite clinic will be staffed by one doctor or nurse practitioner, and offer pediatrics among other family care medical services. (Photo courtesy of Family Health Care Centers of Greater Los Angeles)

When it opens, the two-exam room health facility will be staffed by one doctor or nurse practitioner and provide free or low cost care to families, including pediatric and adult care, and some women’s health. There will be bilingual, Spanish-speaking staff available. The clinic will be open 20 hours a week and increase its hours as the number of patients increase.

Lea esta nota EN ESPAÑOL: Clínica de Bell Gardens Llega a Montebello

A new electronic health records system will also be implemented at the satellite facility, said Dr. Felix Nunez, Interim CEO and CMO of Family Health Care Centers of Greater Los Angeles.

Nunez says they are focused on serving low-income and uninsured patients. They accept patients with Medicaid and Medi-Cal, and are working with the county to ensure there is sufficient funding to serve uninsured patients.

Nunez said they are opening the satellite in Montebello because of the number of people in the area who do not have health insurance or are low-income. Some patients currently go to their Bell Gardens clinic, but “this will provide an outpost so people have care closer to where they are,” he said.

The satellite is funded through County Supervisor Gloria Molina’s office and the Clinic Capacity Expansion Program of the Public Private Partnership Program, which also funded the clinic’s Downey satellite that is opening this month.

Montebello offered the community center space to the clinic free of charge. According to Community Services Rebecca Silva, the city built the 5,000 square feet, two-story community center ten years ago in order to house community organizations such as Family Health Care Centers of Greater Los Angeles.

Since the facility was built in the early 2000s, there has been a slow, ongoing process to fill the space. Other organizations now housed at the community center include a diabetes education nonprofit, a youth counseling center, and a county office coordinating social services in the area. The city also uses the space for its after-school programs.

The arrival of the satellite clinic will make this the first time the facility has been completely filled. “It’s taken some time to really put this puzzle together,” Silva said.

She added the health clinic is “something people will always need.”

“We have a lot of families who, because of their circumstances financially, are considered low income,” and may not be aware of the resources available to them, so the Reggie Rodriguez Community Center “is the perfect spot, right in the neighborhood,” she said.

“It is accessible. There are bilingual services. Hopefully, it is going to be something that really suits their needs,” she said.

Montebello Councilman Bill Molinari highlighted the satellite health clinic at a recent council meeting.

“Particularly given the current economy where so many folks have lost employment, and have also lost medical care, this is going to be an opportunity to provide some very, very important medical service to many, many residents in our community,” he said.

The city awarded a $43,818 construction contract to JSC Construction at the Jan. 11 council meeting. The clinic will reimburse the city for the construction costs.

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January 19, 2012  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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