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Morgan Hill
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August 12, 2020

County seeks to add homeless healthcare services

New federal grant could ease strain on existing Gilroy clinic

Santa Clara Valley Medical Center is seeking to expand its $2.9 million annual federal grant for free healthcare services for people without shelter to include clinics operated by O’Connor and St. Louise hospitals, acquired last year.

The county Board of Supervisors Jan. 28 approved a plan to seek federal approval to add new homeless health services through the Valley Homeless Health Care Program at Valley Medical Center clinics at O’Connor Hospital, at O’Connor’s Forest Avenue clinic and at the former DePaul clinic in Morgan Hill operated by St. Louise Regional Hospital.

Under the proposal, Valley Medical Center/St. Louise Medical Clinic Morgan Hill, located at 18550 DePaul Drive in Morgan Hill, would add healthcare services to meet the needs of residents experiencing homelessness in the South Santa Clara County communities of Morgan Hill, San Martin and Gilroy, according to the county.

Currently, the homeless healthcare program’s mobile medical unit provides care for homeless people in South County with its Mobile Valley Health Center based on Gilroy, and as part of the comprehensive care provided at the county’s Gilroy clinic, at 7475 Camino Arroyo, Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm.

The Gilroy outpatient clinic is one of 11 operated county-wide by Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, and opened its doors in 2008. The South County Mobile Health Center serves people experiencing homelessness in South County. The clinic is located on a mobile bus parked at the Gilroy Compassion Center, 370 Tomkins Ct, Suite D, on Fridays from 9am to 4pm. The care team is made of a primary care doctor, psychiatrist, nurse, licensed vocational nurse, and driver/health services representative.

Other than the homeless healthcare program’s two fixed clinic sites in San Jose targeting the homeless, the Gilroy clinic has the highest utilization by homeless patients in the County of Santa Clara Health System, the county reported to supervisors last month.

Over the last three years on average, 500-600 unduplicated homeless patients have used the Gilroy clinic in 3,200 to 3,600 visits. At six or more visits per patient, this is by far the highest number of outpatient visits per patient in the County of Santa Clara Health and Hospital System, the program reported.

In 2018, the program identified expansion of access to services as a priority, based on increased utilization by homeless people at existing South County sites.

This proposed additional site in Morgan Hill will provide greater access to urgent care with evening and weekend hours and to primary care located in Morgan Hill near homeless encampments.

The addition of the Morgan Hill site to the list of clinics providing health services for the homeless will also help alleviate some of the strain on the Gilroy clinic by freeing up provider time for ongoing care for individuals experiencing homelessness, the supervisors were told. 

The two proposed homeless services sites at the twin medical clinics operated by O’Connor Hospital will provide primary care and selected specialty care services including orthopedic care, the county said.

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