Assemblyman Takes Close Up Look of Local Health Care Center

By Gloria Angelina Castillo, EGP Staff Writer

When little Jimmy broke his ankle, his parents iced it for a week before seeking medical attention—it didn’t heal on its own as they had hoped. Today, that child, who did not have medical insurance for a great part of his life, represents the 51st Assembly District.

Lea esta nota EN ESPAÑOL: Asambleísta Gómez Visita Centro de Salud Local

Recently elected Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, who during his campaign identified health care as one of his priorities, visited with Arroyo Vista Family Health Center administrators and staff, as well as active members of the Lincoln Heights community on March 1.

Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, center, visited the Arroyo Vista Family Health Center on March 1st. (EGP photo by Gloria Angelina Castillo)

While others in the legislature talk about access to healthcare in theoretical terms, Gomez says he has personal experience in the area as one of six children from a hard-working Mexican immigrant family. He said he knows first hand the important role clinics like Arroyo Vista play in low-income communities.

“That’s our community, they don’t want to be a burden, so they wait to see if their kids heal or if they get better,” Gomez said, noting that when they wait, they usually just get worse.

During the meet and greet at the clinic on Norht Broadway in Lincoln Heights, Gomez said he is one of three freshmen serving on the Assembly Health Committee and that he is very proud that his first vote as an assemblyman was not on a resolution or something with little impact, but on two bills that are part of a legislative package for California’s implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act.

Assembly Speaker John Pérez’s AB 1X-1 calls for expanding access to the Medi-Cal program by updating the income level requirement to reflect current cost of living figures. ABX1-2, authored by Assemblyman Richard Pan, prohibits using pre-existing conditions as a factor in denying individuals health insurance coverage. Pan’s bill also will establish geographic rating regions to determine rates in different parts of California. Both the Senate and Assembly are working through identical legislation, Gomez said.

Making good on his promise to focus on health care, Gomez is visiting local institutions “to learn” so as to not make assumptions about healthcare providers’ side on health care related issues.

While at the clinic, Gomez viewed a PowerPoint presentation by Arroyo Vista administrator Sam Vega on the healthcare provider’s history, growth and preparations for the healthcare reform that takes effect in 2014.

Arroyo Vista CEO Lorraine Estradas thanked Gomez for accepting their invitation to visit the medical center, “I know we’re just so thrilled… we are honored you are here,” she said.

Arroyo Vista recently transitioned its five clinics to an electronic records system and received JAYCO recertification of its sites and certification as a Patient-Centered Medical Home—a mandated under the health care reform.

Steve Kasten, local business owner and chamber member, invited Gomez to speak at a Lincoln Heights Chamber luncheon at a future date. Kasten noted four members of the chamber were present for the meeting.

Gomez’s visit to Arroyo Visa concluded with a tour of the facility, during which he was able to take a closer look at the myriad of services offered to the clinic’s mostly low-income, many of them uninsured, patients.

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March 7, 2013  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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