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L.A. Care awards $795,000 to five health clinics for infrastructure improvements

L.A. Care Health Plan, the nation's largest public health plan, is awarding $795,000 to five community clinics as part of its Robert E. Tranquada, MD, Safety Net Awards.

The awards are intended to help small community clinics in Los Angeles County to strengthen their clinical, operational, revenue stream and health information technology infrastructure for long-term impact. Most of the projects are expected to take up to two years to complete.

Selected through a competitive process were:

  • Pomona Community Health Center (Pomona) – $200,000
  • University Muslim Medical (UMMA) Association (South Los Angeles) – $200,000
  • URDC/Bill Moore Clinic (Pasadena) – $165,000
  • Garfield Health Center (Monterey Park) – $125,000
  • Cleaver Family Wellness/Our Saviour Center (El Monte) – $105,000

"As small clinics seek to develop and grow, access to funds to support their infrastructure is critical," said Elaine Batchlor, chief medical officer of L.A. Care Health Plan. "The Dr. Robert E. Tranquada Awards program is one of the few grant programs that provide this type of funding, which places an emphasis on long-term sustainability."

Some of the challenges that small clinics face include inadequate and outdated information technology systems, insufficient long-term planning, overdependence on a limited number of revenue streams and insufficient physical space.

With its $200,000 grant, the Pomona Community Health Center is turning an old shopping center into a 5,000 square foot clinic. The impact of this new clinic is expected to be substantial, as there is only one other small clinic in the Pomona area, which has a 5-6 week waiting list for new patients. The new center expects to serve approximately 5,600 patients per year when it reaches full capacity after expansion in mid 2011.

With the funding the UMMA clinic will provide prenatal services at its main site and open a school-based health center in partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District at Fremont High School in South Los Angeles. The new center will offer family planning as well as prenatal services to the students and the community and is expected to see approximately 5,500 patients a year once it opens later this year.

The awards are named after Robert E. Tranquada, a founding board member and past chairman of L.A. Care, who served for more than 10 years and retired in 1997. To date, the awards have funded 23 projects totaling more than $5.2 million to L.A. County safety net clinics.

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