Health clinic opens in Excelsior District

November 9, 2010 12:45:08 PM PST
A health clinic opened this morning in San Francisco's Excelsior District that will provide basic medical care to uninsured and low-income residents.

Clinic by the Bay will provide free medical care to working adults who are without insurance or cannot afford to pay for medical care. The patients must live in the Excelsior or Outer Mission neighborhoods of San Francisco or in Daly City.

"We don't have the capacity to go beyond that right now, but are hoping to expand that down the road," said Scott Hauge, vice president and co-founder of Clinic by the Bay.

The clinic, part of the nationwide Volunteers in Medicine network, is operated by retired physicians, nurses and trained volunteers. It is funded by private donations, and does not accept insurance or rely on government funding.

There are 82 other clinics in the network, and this is the first one in Northern California.

Hauge said the location of the clinic at 4877 Mission St. was selected because research showed that the area was underserved by medical providers.

More than 100,000 uninsured people live in San Francisco and San Mateo counties, according to clinic officials.

About 100 volunteers, from retired doctors and nurses to translators, have signed up to help out at the clinic. Languages spoken there will include Spanish, Chinese and Tagalog.

The clinic will provide primary and preventive medical care, basic dental and mental health screening, prescription medication assistance, and specialty referral coordination.

Hauge, who is also the vice chairman of the national Volunteers in Medicine organization, said the clinic expects to handle about 2,100 visits in its first year of operation and hopefully expand down the road.

"The reason we've been successful is because the community takes ownership" of the clinics, he said.

Hauge was scheduled to join U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Rep. Jackie Speier, San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos, and Janet Reilly, the other co-founder of the clinic, at today's grand opening.

Reilly is also a candidate for a San Francisco supervisor seat, and is still awaiting the final results of the election.

For more information about the clinic, or for people interested in donating, call (415) 405-0222 or visit www.clinicbythebay.org.


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