Most of us have the privilege of getting sick and going to the doctor directly or having a private doctor that can visit us while we are sick. Others have a good health insurance and pay a little extra to have amazing services when they are needed.
But what happens to the people that don’t have access to good health services? Imagine you get sick; let’s say a cold or the flu. You go to the doctor and the doctor prescribes you with medicine and checks your health in order to know how to deal with the illness. Simple right? Well, for people who don’t have access to health insurance it is not that easy. They can go months without knowing what they have and how it can be treated, and something as simple as a cold or flu can become a serious illness that can affect the person in many ways.
In Santa Barbara California, there is a group of clinics that decided that they were going to help everybody, despite their situation or if they had or didn’t have money, by providing free health services that any human being could need in order to decently survive.
This is their story and how they are helping people in the Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Isla Vista area.
The idea of the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics (SBNC) charity came to be in the year 1998 when 3 clinics merged. These were well-known clinics for their work and their service to patients in an unprivileged situation since the 1970s. The clinics involved were The Isla Vista Health center that opened its doors in the year 1970; the Carrillo hospital that used to have another name and that came to be in the year 1971, and the Westside hospital that was opened in the year 1973.
Many things brought together these 3 clinics. First, their passion for service and their stubborn belief that everybody, families, and individuals, should receive medical treatment without even considering if they could pay or not for the service. They also shared the vision that having a good medical care is an important and vital right that everybody has and that should be considered and provided by the state. But more importantly, and this is what made them create a project that would generate a lot of trust within the communities, the 3 clinics had been an important part of the neighborhood and its dynamics and were an influence where they were located and they had built trust throughout the years.
Today, Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics has 4 clinics, 2 dental clinics and provides the community with basic and important services. They are in charge of taking care of almost 17,000 patients with income problems a year and receive more than 70,000 patients and school and academic visits.
Their mission is clear and it is to provide very good quality, complete, affordable healthcare to everyone that shows up at their doors, regardless of their ability to pay, with an amazing and welcoming environment that promotes respects, dignity, and well-being. And to add to their mission and their medical and dental clinics, they encourage patients and community members to be part of a healthy lifestyle and they provide them with preventive programs, services, and education.
Apart from providing information about obtaining health insurance coverage for those who are not within the health system, they have 2 Dental clinics and four up to date Medical clinics, where they offer health services for low-income communities and neighborhoods such as the following:
It is the first step to take when people need to be provided with health care. Doctors within family medicine have the ability to evaluate and treat many simple conditions and wounds while they can also refer patients with bigger illnesses to different specialists and doctors.
The idea of this service is to provide preventive care and anticipatory guidance to families regarding the care and well-being of children, adolescents, and teenagers.
The SBNC offers Woman Exams in order to make it easier for women to have control over their health regarding breast cancer and cervical cancer. They provide screening and diagnostic services and long-term treatments. They have two programs that are Every Woman Counts and Family PACT to address the people that need help with their woman’s health expenses.
Chronic Illnesses Management and control
They assist patients with medication and tips to manage their illness and to help them overcome illnesses such as diabetes and asthma and many more.
This is where they offer information on diseases and topics such as alcohol use and abuse and tips on how to quit smoking and how to lead a healthy lifestyle.
They offer counseling and therapy to deal with drug and alcohol problems and psychological help to deal with any type of addiction problem. They also offer HIV and tests for Hepatitis C.
Be sure to also check this post on an amazing charity that takes the art of caring to another level