Stanislaus County to leave behind three health clinics. Where have the patients gone?

Stanislaus County will continue to provide access to primary and specialty care for low-income residents — with the help of two outside safety-net providers.

The plan presented to county leaders this week reflects a diminishing role for the county Health Services Agency as a direct provider of health care for the poor.

Under the plan, the agency would no longer run the county health clinics in Ceres, Hughson and Turlock. Livingston Community Health would expand its footprint in Stanislaus County by serving patients at the Hughson and Turlock clinics.

Livingston would contract with the Scenic Faculty Medical Group physicians who work at the two county clinics, so patients will have the same doctors.

“I believe it would be seamless for the patients,” said Mary Ann Lilly, county Health Services Agency director.

Golden Valley Health Centers would take over the county’s Ceres clinic on East Whitmore Avenue and expand services at its facilities in Turlock, including a new center planned on Colorado Avenue. Golden Valley has four locations in Turlock.

County Supervisor Vito Chiesa said Golden Valley and Livingston Medical both were eager to take over management of the county’s Turlock clinic. The 1,800 patients served by the clinic is the lowest count in the county system.

“Turlock has a lot of coverage,” Chiesa said. “Golden Valley has done such a good job, patients have been migrating out of the county system to their system.”

The county Health Services Agency will continue to serve patients at the Paradise Medical Office in west Modesto, McHenry Medical Office on Woodrow Avenue, the Family and Pediatric Health Center on Scenic Drive and a specialty and physical rehab center on McHenry Avenue.

Lilly said no county employees will be laid off. County employees at the Ceres, Turlock and Hughson clinics would relocate to the remaining county clinics in Modesto.

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If county supervisors approve the plan after a July 16 public hearing, the changes could take effect before the end of the year.

Ken Carlson covers county government and health care for The Modesto Bee. His coverage of public health, medicine, consumer health issues and the business of health care has appeared in The Bee for 15 years.
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