Sunday
Mar062011

The Saban Free Clinic

 

Health Care Revolution

By Bailey Hollingsworth

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. – Article 25(a) of the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UN, 1948)

 
In all but one industrialized nation, access to health care is guaranteed as a right of citizenship. The United States stands alone among these nations denying access to health care based on ones ability to pay. Nearly one in six American adults do not have health insurance, costing taxpayers over $40 billion yearly in uncompensated care. With other nations leading the way in advancements for health care solutions for all, America’s safety net population is fortunate to have organizations like The Saban Free Clinic whose mission provides comprehensive, affordable quality health care solutions - free of judgment.
 
It all began in The Summer of Love when an influx of young people flocking to Los Angeles during the heyday of the counter-culture movement, spawned the opening of the free clinic. During that time medical care, psychological care and job placement services where given free of charge. Many of the same needs face the community today, but as a result of increasingly high health care cost the clinic has evolved into many peoples’ primary care physician and medical home.  
 
The Saban Free Clinic prides itself on exploring new methodologies and acts as a training ground for many medical professionals. Dr. Brian Prestwich, part of the clinic family, employs techniques of system redesign in hopes to more sufficiently and effectively provide care to patients. Giving doctor and patients more face time by the use of questionnaires and pamphlets has lead to improvements in patient experience, quality of care, and reduced clinician burnout.
 
Along with the medical home concept being employed, a pilot learning collaborative known as Early Developmental Screening and Intervention (EDSI) is thriving in the clinic. Parents are asked to complete a form that make them aware of their child’s development stages and informs the provider of areas that may need further attention so that developmental delays can be corrected before they compound.  
 
These concepts have proven to increase patient health and decrease cost by keeping patients out of the ER and the hospital, where the most expensive medical treatments are provided. With the current fiscal problems facing American taxpayers, funding reductions for Medicare and Medicaid patients as well as programs like The Saban Free Clinic, will lead to more uninsured Americans and less money to treat their medical needs.
 
The Congressional Budget Office estimated that with the health care reform law known as Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, signed into law by President Barack Obama, the net reduction in federal deficits would be $143 billion over the 2010-2019 period. The US currently spends at least 40 percent more per capita on health care than any other industrialized country with universal health care. The Commonwealth Fund ranked health care in the United States last compared to 19 other industrialized countries that spend half as much per person on health. Private for profit corporations spend on average nearly 20 percent of premiums on administration costs. Whereas, public agencies and organizations like The Saban Free Clinic spend roughly 4 percent of their revenue on these costs. To top it all off, quality of care is compromised when corporations whose obligatory purpose is to increase revenue for shareholders participate in health coverage for individuals, as it is necessary for them to save money by denying coverage and decreasing provider costs.
 
The Saban Free Clinic works hard to provide quality medical services free of charge. Because of the geographical location of the clinic many individuals in the entertainment industry began to donate and support the clinic; even Elvis Presley personally walked in a check for $10,000 back in the early seventies. The Friends of the Saban Free Clinic was formed in 1973 and provides a stable funding source for the clinic through fundraising events and community leader endowments.
 
After forty-three years of community service, the clinic has seen many changes in the health care industry and patient needs. The clinic now runs five different sites throughout the Los Angeles area providing care to over 22,000 patients yearly.  They have partnered with other organizations in Los Angeles creating training programs for residents that include prenatal observation, dental care and a High Risk Youth program that provides comprehensive care to young people living on the streets in Hollywood.
 
To learn more about the services The Saban Free Clinic provides as well as how you can help to keep organizations like this thriving in our communities please visit their website at www.thesabanfreeclinic.org.