Dr. Gregerson and JWCH are Helping to Change Lives in Skid Row
Safety net hospitals and clinics play a vital role in our health care system, in some cases, providing the only source of much needed care to low-income, medically, and socially vulnerable populations. When it comes to caring for our cities’ homeless residents, safety net clinics may provide the only resources for medical, oral and mental health care for those who are underinsured or uninsured.
Lack of access to health care can have a significant impact on entire populations, and few examples of this are more graphic than in downtown Los Angeles, where the John Wesley Community Health Institute (JWCH), an urban clinic for the homeless on Skid Row, provides much needed care to low-income residents. Its story is beautifully told in this video: http://community.kp.org/be-inspired/story/health-care-should-never-be-out-of-reach-for-anyone.
The video follows JWCH’s medical director, Paul Gregerson, M.D., M.B.A., as he manages the multiple challenges inherent in running the clinic.
Imagine being without a home, living on the dangerous streets, and having to wait weeks for housing because health screening test results for tuberculosis are not readily available. Kaiser Permanente partnered with Dr. Gregerson and JWCH to provide no cost, same-day testing that would allow residents with negative TB tests to qualify for safe, clean housing in the downtown area. Kaiser Permanente’s work with JWCH gives patients hope by providing integrated care and services from dental care, medical exams and laboratory services to our neediest populations.
“Health care is a right… [and] everyone deserves to be treated with the same respect and love we would want,” Dr. Gregerson says in an interview. He serves as a model of the philosophy that everyone deserves good health care and respect by treating every patient who visits the clinic, regardless of their ability to pay.
Because many communities continue to suffer from limited health care resources, Kaiser Permanente helps safety net institutions, including community health centers, public hospitals, local health departments, school health centers, and local clinics like JWCH, deliver care to our most underserved and vulnerable populations.
Kaiser Permanente has a longstanding commitment to work together with our community partners, including safety net institutions, to foster healthy, thriving communities. In 2014, Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s Community Benefit program awarded approximately $11 million in grants for charity care programs that help to close the gap in health care access.
To learn more about Kaiser Permanente’s investment in the community, visit: http://community.kp.org/be-informed/summary-of-operations/2014-soo