Are California Community Health Centers Prepared to Meet The Need For Future Change?

health center

An excerpt from Candace Baldwin, Director of Strategy, Aging in Community

California stands out as a proving ground for change. With its diverse geography, cultures, a mix of rural and urban populations, and wide disparities in income, the state faces many challenges in meeting the care needs of an aging population. Several of the state’s Federal Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) have established themselves as models of how to provide integrated care for the “whole person” through community partnerships, changes in processes, and a commitment to making the Affordable Care Act ’s new pay-for-performance model cost efficient.
Lifelong Medical Care in Berkeley, for example, pioneered integrated care and services for seniors more than 35 years ago, providing primary care, chronic disease screening and management, referrals to specialists, mental health services, social services resources, and health education through an array of hospital and community partnerships.

Meanwhile, Redwood Community Health Coalition, which serves Marin, Napa, Sonoma, and Yolo Counties, provides a model of integrated care through its Population Health Improvement Program. The program aims to improve patient health, enhance the patient experience, and reduce health care visits using a Care Coordination Medical Record that provides in-depth patient profiles and health care planning across an array of providers.
In Redding, Shasta Community Health Center demonstrates that partnerships and care coordination can happen in a rural and severely impoverished setting, too. The center provides coordinated care for the community’s homeless residents, has established partnerships with many northern California health clinics, and offers mental health services.

These age-friendly health systems offer us a model of how communities can expand health equity in traditionally underserved populations. As a 2009 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study outlined, “Making America healthier will require action at all levels of society. Individuals, communities, health care, businesses and unions, philanthropies, and local, state and the federal government must work together to improve our nation’s health.”

Does California have a real, nutritious, healthy system that can aid patients in health centers both physically and mentally? To this day there has not been enough support for the use of urban farming in health centers that create a more sustainable living for the elderly and build a more healthy lifestyle.

At Farm Urbana, we help health centers and communities develop sustainable solutions for serving the health and wellness needs of all residents. We provide an active training program that teaches residents how to cultivate nutritious produce.

Health centers are supplied with an easy to grow system that is eco-friendly and resourceful. We envision community centers to be more prosperous and sustainable and have the patients be more resilient in dealing with health issues by providing the power of edible garden solutions in their hands.

Do you believe California Health Centers should invest more on urban farming to improve health outcomes in the future?

Source: From an article that appeared on Capital Impact Partners blog on August 30, 2016.