Mercury News: Safety Net Clinics Reduce ER Visits

While government funded clinics were created over 50 years ago as a safety net for those most in need, they serve the community as a whole. Lumping together “high-cost emergency rooms” with community clinics as a place of last resort is wrong (“Grand jury report cites shortage of Medi-Cal doctors,” Page 1B, May 15).


For many patients, community health clinics are the clinic of choice offering high quality medical services from experienced physicians and staff who are passionate about the communities they serve. Suggesting that patients would rather defer care than receive treatment from government funded clinics only fuels a classist undertone and discourages potential patients from seeking the care they need.

Community Health Partnership’s member clinics serve 70,000 Medi-Cal patients, which is part of Santa Clara County’s safety net clinic system where 53 percent of all Medi-Cal enrollees seek health care. These safety net clinics reduce ER visits; resulting in both greater health outcomes and financial savings for patients and taxpayers.

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Dolores Alvarado
CEO, Community Health
Partnership of Santa Clara
and San Mateo counties

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