May 2019 Volume LIV Number 3


Special Needs Clinic Gets Special Attention from Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children

September 2012 Volume XLVIII Number 5

sanysidropic2sanysidropic2Tarik hasn’t stopped praying for God to help his daughter Jasmine since the day she was born.

At five years old, Jasmine already suffers from devastating medical conditions, including cerebral palsy, a brain that will never fully develop, and seizures. She is unable to walk or talk. Her father says a sense of sadness is always with him.

In spite of her constraints, Tarik describes his daughter as a happy child who loves to play and watch "Barney." He will never lose hope that Jasmines condition will eventually improve.

The mission of San Ysidro Health Center, Inc. is "to protect, promote, and improve the health and well being of our communitys traditionally underserved and culturally diverse people." SYHCs mission statement highlights the health centers long-standing commitment to its community to provide the highest quality, easily accessible and most respectful health services regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or economic status.

SYHC began serving its local community in 1969 as a modest volunteer clinic in a two-room building in San Ysidro, Calif. Its founders were seven local women who envisioned accessible health care for their community, which at the time, did not hava doctor in residence. Over the past 43 years, SYHC has grown into a major community health center with demonstrated success in meeting the changing health care needs of its patients through a comprehensive system of medical, dental, behavioral health, and care coordination services.

As a Federally-Qualified Health Center, SYHC provides comprehensive primary care services and family support programs to over 78,000 registered patients residing in the South and Southeastern Regions of San Diego County annually. SYHCs patient population profile is predominately Latino with high rates of poverty, uninsured individuals and families, low education levels, and nonEnglish speaking heads of households. In 2011, SYHCs patient population profile was highlighted by the following demographics:

81 percent of SYHC patients were Latino (63,627/78,779);

97 percent of patients lived at or below 200% of Federal Poverty Level (76,157/78,779);

53 percent of patients were uninsured (41,597/78,779);

46 percent of patients were ages 0-19 (35,855/78,779); and,

7 percent of patients were age 65 and over (5,455/78,779).

SYHCs service delivery network consists of eight primary care clinics; one urgent/ primary care clinic; three mobile primary care clinics; five dental clinics; three behavioral health service centers; five WIC Nutrition Centers; two HIV care centers; three school-based health centers; one adult dahealth center; one Center for Research and Health Promotion; and numerous outreach programs. SYHCs primary care programs and services include medical care (pediatrics, obstetrics, family medicine, and internal medicine); oral health care for children and adults; mental health/behavioral services for children, adolescents and adults; mobile primary care clinics; HIV/AIDS primary care and social services; adult day health services for seniors and adults with special needs; Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutritional services; immunizations; social services; enabling services; community outreach; and patient transportation. In addition, SYHC operates Family Practice and Pediatric Dentistry residency programs and maintains collaborative relationships with local hospitals, universities, school districts, and other communitybased organizations.

Access to Care in San Diego

SYHC continuously demonstrates its commitment to increasing access to culturally proficient, high-quality services throughout the traditionally underserved areas of San Diego Countys South and Southeastern Regions. The health centers board of directors, executive management, and staff are dedicated to providing accessible and affordable care that is available when the patient requests it. This proactive "patient-driven" approach guides all aspects of SYHCs service delivery and ensures that the health center is constantly assessing patient satisfaction and anticipating the needs of its patients.

SYHC is currently working towards National Center of Quality Assurance (NCQA) Level III Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) recognition. The PCMH model establishes a health care setting that facilitates partnerships between patients, their families, and their personal physicians, dentists, and behavioral health providers. Quality care is facilitated by effective information technology, including an efficient health information exchange, to ensure that patients have access

Balancing Jasmines special needs while caring for two other children is not easy.

Jasmine requires a lot of help, and she sees a variety of medical specialists. Each day brings a series of hurdles. So when her parents received a referral to San Ysidro Health Center (SYHC) Pediatric Dental Clinic, where Jasmines disabilities would not prevent her from receiving dental treatment, they felt relieved.

According to Tarik, "The clinic helps kids who need their services more than anyone it offers great care and the staff are wonderful with Jasmine. My wife and I are so grateful. They are making sure our children have a better future."

Jasmine is just one of the children in the care of the SYHCs Pediatric Dental Clinic, a 2012 Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children Access to Care grantee.

SYHC has utilized many aspects of the PCMH model since the health centers early years; however, implementing the established and well-defined standards set forth by NCQA will only strengthen and add to the current service delivery model. The PCMH standards describe clear and specific criteria, and provide specific details in regards to organizing care around patients, working in teams, and coordinating and tracking care over time. Achievement of Level III PCMH recognition will identify SYHC as one of the few community health centers in the San Diego area that are held to the high level of patient care and service delivery set forth by this national program.

How the Foundation is Helping

SYHC was awarded a Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children Access to Care Grant of $20,000 to establish a San Diego Childrens Dental Clinic (SDCDC) Treatment Fund. The SDCDC Treatment Fund targets a very specific and unique patient population of patients accessing services at SYHCs SDCDC facility, which is only pediatric dental clinic.

"We were struck particularly by San Ysidros efforts to care for special needs children," said HSHC President Dr. David Curtis. "While our previous grants have helped recipients help thousands of kids, the uniqueness of the children they serve makes their Childrens Dental Clinic a compelling case."

Among SDCDCs general patient population of medically fragile children is a unique group of patients and families. SDCDC staff frequently encounter situations in which the family is uninsured and clearly faces significant financial challenges, yet do not qualify for SYHCs sliding-fee program, which is based on a household income at or below 200 percent Federal Poverty Level. SYHC must maintain strict adherence to all sliding-fee program requirements to remain in compliance with federal funding regulations. The families are facing overwhelming challenges in not only caring for their sick child, but also in taking carof other children and family members, managing a variety of seemingly insurmountable health care expenses, as well as trying to manage their every day household bills. Although these families do not meet the Federal definition of poverty, they do face extraordinary expenses with limited incomes.

The Access to Care Grant support has allowed SYHC to establish the SDCDC Treatment Fund to assist uninsured families who do not qualify for sliding-fee services yet face severe financial hardship in accessing preventive, restorative and orthodontic care for their medically fragile child. The SDCDC Treatment Fund greatly increases SYHCs capacity to make a significant impact and a positive difference in the lives of local families already facing challenging situations and overwhelming healthcare costs. In addition, HSHC grant funds not only have a direct and positive impact on current SDCDC patients, but also position SYHC to build and grow a larger treatment pool to serve additional high-need families.

Based on the average cost of SDCDC services and treatment delivery, SYHC anticipates that the $20,000 SDCDC Treatment Fund will enable the health center to assist 15-20 families with dental expenses for their medically fragile child with special needs. Although the number of patients served by the SDCDC Treatment Fund is relatively small, the magnitude of the positive impact HSHC funding will have on these families is incredibly significant.