With a bit of sentimental fanfare, city and county officials opened a new community health clinic Thursday for low-income residents of Sacramento’s housing projects near Broadway.
The clinic, open to individuals and families living in the Alder Grove and Marina Vista neighborhoods, will offer weekday and Saturday appointments for primary care, including pregnancy and well-baby exams, immunizations, screenings, prescriptions and lab tests.
With no nearby clinic, residents in the area were traveling long distances for health care or “taking their kids with sniffles to the emergency room,” said Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna, who allocated $150,000 in tobacco-litigation funds to refurbish a clinic that had been closed for 15 years. “This is going to help divert people from going to the emergency room to address non-emergency health care needs.”
The 1,000-square-foot facility is named for the late Steven Thompson, a longtime Capitol health care advocate who worked for the California Medical Association and then-Assembly Speaker Willie Brown.
“He was one of the most ardent advocates for advancing access to health care for disadvantaged individuals in California. A public health clinic in his name is emblematic of that policy interest,” said Serna, speaking after opening ceremonies that drew Democratic luminaries, including state party Chairman John Burton, former Mayor Phil Isenberg and Mayor-elect Darrell Steinberg.
For Serna, whose late father was Sacramento Mayor Joe Serna, the clinic’s opening was a kind of homecoming. He said the red-brick housing project was his first home in Sacramento, after his parents returned from a Peace Corps stint in Guatemala in the late 1960s.
Later, as a kid growing up in Curtis Park, Serna played for a Land Park soccer team coached by Thompson.
“He coached soccer much like he pursued health care policy: He was animated, involved and always pacing,” said Serna.
Last year, the county supervisor set aside funding for the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency to rehab the long-shuttered clinic. It’s now operated by Health for All, a nonprofit that operates three Sacramento clinics and an adult health day center for low-income residents, primarily treating Medi-Cal and uninsured patients.
Thompson, a longtime resident of the neighboring Land Park area, died in 2004 at age 62. Following his death, the state Senate renamed in his honor a program that repays up to $105,000 in government student loans to new doctors who agree to work full-time for at least three years in California’s underserved medical areas.
The Steven M. Thompson Community Health Clinic, which expects to start seeing patients within a month, is at 752 Revere St., off Muir Way near the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery.