In less than 1 year, 6000 Promise Zone Residents Receive Care through Clinics and "On Wheels."
March 2018 - On an autumn evening last September in Sacramento, a tiny woman named Denise is going to a doctor’s appointment without ever leaving the street curb.
She isn’t alone. Dozens of the community’s homeless citizens are checking in at Elica Health Center’s Health on Wheels (HOW) mobile unit, parked adjacent to Cesar Chavez Park. For people like Denise, the fully-staffed unit is the rolling clinic that meets them where they are.
“I’ve been out here (on the street) since my house was foreclosed on 8 months ago,” says Denise, through tears. “I came to one of these events for the homeless and the (Elica) bus was there. I was still healing from a broken leg, so I had them look at it, and I’ve been coming every month ever since.”
Elica Health Centers is a non-profit network of community-based health clinics, including four located in the Sacramento Promise Zone, which provide primary care, behavioral health and dental services for the Sacramento region’s underserved populations, including Medi-Cal recipients, immigrant community members, the under- and uninsured, and hard to reach populations like the homeless.
In addition to its health center locations, Elica delivers much needed services beyond the clinic walls via its Wellness Outside Walls (WOW) initiative, which includes the Street Medicine and Health on Wheels (HOW) mobile clinic programs. Operating both together and independently in the Promise Zone, you will often see the 40-foot mobile clinic parked in the area between North 12th and North 16th Streets or outside the Union Gospel Mission on Bannon Street. Similarly, members of Elica’s Street Medicine Team can be seen walking along the banks of the American River near Richards Boulevard.
Both labor intensive programs are staffed by Elica physicians, nurse practitioners and allied staff, who seek out those living under harsh conditions, with medical problems that are often compounded by mental health and substance abuse issues. Over 1,000 hard to reach individuals are served annually and provided with health care and other assistance, which ultimately improves their circumstance, reduces the need for costly emergency services and safeguards the public’s health.
Through its WOW initiative in combination with those served at its four health centers within the Promise Zone, Elica directly impacts the lives of an estimated 6,000-plus Promise Zone residents, who are projected to account for at least 15,000 annual patient visits. This represents approximately 18% of Elica’s current business, which makes the Promise Zone an important demographic to Elica and its future growth.
While Elica has been a Promise Zone Partner only since it agreed to initiate services less than a year ago at four Health for All clinic locations that were being shuttered, it is proving to be an important and mutually beneficial partnership, and one with potential growth.
Much of the Promise Zone is qualified as a Medically Underserved Area (MUA), meaning the need for health care providers like Elica is high. With the capacity to serve even more Promise Zone residents, Elica is looking forward to working with the Sacramento Promise Zone, its fellow Partners and the Sacramento Housing & Redevelopment Agency to ensure that every resident gets the primary care and related services they need. To learn more about Elica Health Centers visit: https://www.elicahealth.org/