LOS ANGELES – Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles partnered with Venice Family Clinic to host its Community Access Gastrointestinal Day on March 17. Community Access Gastrointestinal Day is a collaborative effort made possible by Kaiser Permanente’s Community Benefit Program, to provide diagnostic colonoscopies and endoscopies to a limited amount of underserved West LA residents, at no cost to them.
Kaiser Permanente volunteer staff and surgeons performed 12 procedures benefiting nine patients at the Community Access Gastrointestinal Day. One patient, Nicolasa Cali, 59, was especially grateful to have received two procedures as part of the event. She was told in January she needed these procedures as soon as possible, but she was worried how she would pay for them and how long she would have to wait to get them.
April Schustz, the specialty hub coordinator at the Venice Family Clinic, said it was likely Cali would have had to wait six months just to get an appointment to see a Los Angeles County gastrointestinal specialist who would then determine if procedures should be ordered. She then would likely have to wait several more months to actually get the procedures.
Cali is just one of many patients with limited or no health insurance. “Even with the Affordable Care Act, approximately 30 percent of patients from Venice Family Clinic remain uninsured. These include undocumented immigrants as well as people who are homeless,” said Rigoberto A. Garcia, director of Health Education at Venice Family Clinic.
“These patients come presenting some very concerning health conditions and risk factors,” said Celia Brugman, Community Benefit health manager, Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles. “With the Community Access Day program, they leave the facility with a clear diagnosis and the Venice Family Clinic now has the knowledge they need to move forward to help these patients restore their health. This program has a very powerful impact on these patients’ lives and perfectly complements our mission at Kaiser Permanente.”
The Community Access Gastrointestinal Day event happens during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month; therefore, endoscopies and diagnostic colonoscopy screenings will be conducted for early detection of colon and rectal cancers. Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S., but it’s also one of the most treatable cancers. When colorectal cancer is found at an early stage, the five-year relative survival rate is approximately 90 percent.
Additional colorectal screenings will take place at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center on Thursday, March 22 as part of its colorectal screening day.
Creating healthy communities is central to Kaiser Permanente’s mission and critical to individual health and wellness. At the Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center, contributions to various Community Benefit Programs totaled $28,002,536 in 2016.
About Venice Family Clinic
Venice Family Clinic’s mission is to provide quality primary health care to people in need. Launched in 1970 by founder Phillip Rossman, MD, and co-founder Mayer B. Davidson, MD, the Clinic has grown from a small storefront operation into the largest community health center on the Westside of Los Angeles. With the help of more than 1,300 volunteers, including nearly 400 physicians, it provides comprehensive medical, behavioral health, dental, vision, child development, health education and health insurance enrollment services to 26,000 men, women and children annually through 12 sites in Venice, Santa Monica, Mar Vista, Inglewood and Culver City. For more information, visit venicefamilyclinic.org.
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 11.8 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.