El Camino Hospital District Awards $1.4 million to VMC Foundation

Building on a partnership that has already delivered health and dental services to nearly 14,000 low-income residents, the El Camino Hospital District announced a $1.4 million grant to the VMC Foundation to support adult medical and dental services at Valley Health Center (VHC) Sunnyvale.  The grant will fund adult dental care services for over 1,300 people, and strengthen existing efforts to improve medical care for 4,000 patients with a chronic illness like diabetes or heart disease.

“We are delighted and honored that El Camino Hospital District has decided to continue this important partnership,” said Chris Wilder, Executive Director of the VMC Foundation.  “Without their support, literally thousands of people in the north county area would be without access to medical and dental care.”

Since 2009, ECHD has provided over $5,000,000 to the VMC Foundation to support VHC Sunnyvale, a community clinic owned and operated by Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC). Grant funds are specifically targeted to strengthen the VHC Sunnyvale “medical home model,” providing patients with an integrated array of services bundled in one setting.  From care managers, pharmacists and social workers to nurses, doctors and mental health specialists, ECHD funding offers VHC Sunnyvale patients with an entire team of healthcare professionals that can coordinate care for the best results, while reducing unnecessary doctor and emergency room visits.

“It really marries our distinct vision for improving the health of our community through patient centered healthcare,” said Barbara Avery, El Camino Hospital Director of Community Benefit.  “It’s been a very successful partnership for both of us.  Our goal is to bring prevention, wellness and easy access to care to our community.”

“It means fewer trips to the emergency room.  It means fewer trips back to the doctor. That’s not only good for the patients, but it helps us reduce healthcare costs at SCVMC and El Camino Hospital,” said Wilder.

The grant also funds adult dental services, a critical and often under-reported need in low-income communities.  Few public programs support dental care, so adults without private insurance are often hard-pressed to find services they can afford.  Thanks to ECHD funding, VHC Sunnyvale can offer this service to adults.

“Prior to this clinic having primary care services, people from the north county had to travel down to theSan Josearea to get services.  It meant bus transfers, it meant missing work and lost wages, so the consequence was that many people simply did not access care,” said Cecile Currier, Vice President of Corporate & Community Health Services at El Camino Hospital.

The grant has one other notable impact – it makes ECHD the largest institutional donor in VMC Foundation history.  No other single organization, foundation or corporation has given more.

“Healthcare is a team effort,” said Wilder.  “The only way for us to provide the healthcare that this community needs is to work together.”

UPDATE: Sal Pizzaro wrote about the partnership in the Sunday, July 22 edition of the San Jose Mercury News.  You can read the article here.