25-YEAR-OLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION KEEPS IT PERSONAL.Byline: Yvette Cabrera Daily News Staff Writer
Convenience is not the reason why Angie Garcia heads to the San Fernando High School San Fernando High School, located in San Fernando, California, is a secondary school that is a part of the Los Angeles Unified School District.
The school colors are black and gold. All girl teams are referred to as Lady Tigers, all boy teams simply as Tigers. Teen Health Center for her medical needs instead of her family's insurance-covered medical provider.
The reason is familiarity.
``They know my name, my symptoms,'' said Garcia, a 17-year-old senior from Sylmar. ``They care more. If I've had a bad day, they know. It seems like more of a personal thing.''
The center is one of 24 health clinics across the San Fernando San Fernando, city, Argentina
San Fernando (săn fərnăn`dō), city (1991 pop. 144,761), Buenos Aires prov., E Argentina. It is a district administrative center in the Greater Buenos Aires area. and Santa Clarita valleys The Santa Clarita Valley is the valley of the Santa Clara River in Southern California. It stretches through Los Angeles County and Ventura County. Its main population center is the city of Santa Clarita. The valley was part of the 48,612-acre (19,672. run by the Northeast Valley Health Corp., a nonprofit A corporation or an association that conducts business for the benefit of the general public without shareholders and without a profit motive.
Nonprofits are also called not-for-profit corporations. Nonprofit corporations are created according to state law. , community-owned health care organization that is celebrating its 25th anniversary today.
The organization's goal is to provide primary medical care and health education to mainly low-income residents, but the delivery of care is what distinguishes the clinics, said Lou Garcia, one of the founders and executive director from 1972 to 1990.
When the first clinic opened out of a storefront office in San Fernando, Garcia's philosophy was to treat patients like family - short waiting periods, service in Spanish and care regardless of ability to pay, he said.
``My philosophy was to run clinics in a family atmosphere and I think that family atmosphere still exists,'' said Garcia, 73, of Oxnard.
The clinics were essential for the poor.
``If you had money or insurance you went to doctors, but there were not any to serve poor people. Our clinics were able to provide those services,'' said Garcia.
The need is still great. In Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. , there are an estimated 2.7 million uninsured residents, with 500,000 of those in the San Fernando Valley San Fernando Valley
Valley, southern California, U.S. Northwest of central Los Angeles, the valley is bounded by the San Gabriel, Santa Susana, and Santa Monica mountains and the Simi Hills. .
In its first year, the San Fernando clinic recorded 5,000 visits. Last year, the organization, which includes seven community clinics, 12 Women, Infant and Children clinics, and three substance abuse sites, recorded 99,000 visits.
The patients who walk into Dr. Maria Cristina Ortiz's office at the San Fernando clinic are often humble folk, recent immigrants, people who have left their families in other countries and suffer bouts of depression. So Ortiz and her co-workers make an extra effort to make the clients feel at home, she said.
``It's been like a ray of hope, a treasure that they've found here,'' said Ortiz, 52.
Though they might not be able to pay much in cash, clients make up for it in the small tokens of appreciation they bring Ortiz, such as tamales, knitted sweaters, plants and even rosary rosary [rose garden], prayer of Roman Catholics, in which beads are used as counters. The term, applied also to the beads, is extended to Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist prayers that use beads. beads.
Ortiz could earn a much higher salary at a private practice, but she chooses to stay because of her patients.
``To be able to offer them a hand, to give them medical help is something very satisfying that no money can buy,'' said Ortiz, a native of Puerto Rico Puerto Rico (pwār`tō rē`kō), island (2005 est. pop. 3,917,000), 3,508 sq mi (9,086 sq km), West Indies, c.1,000 mi (1,610 km) SE of Miami, Fla. .
The organization has its origins in a University of California, Los Angeles UCLA comprises the College of Letters and Science (the primary undergraduate college), seven professional schools, and five professional Health Science schools. Since 2001, UCLA has enrolled over 33,000 total students, and that number is steadily rising. , survey conducted by Garcia in the late 1960s. The survey found that the health care needs of residents in the Northeast Valley were not being met due to poverty, a lack of services, fear of physicians and immigration immigration, entrance of a person (an alien) into a new country for the purpose of establishing permanent residence. Motives for immigration, like those for migration generally, are often economic, although religious or political factors may be very important. officials, language barrier and transportation problems.
So with more than $2 million in federal grants, the Northeast Valley Health Corp. was created.
PHOTO Kamiko, left, and Katayo Forman play in their room as their mother, Donetta Philips watches. Philips takes advantage of a clinic run by the Northeast Valley Health Corp.
Hans Gutknecht/Daily News