Our newest clinic has officially opened in San Rafael’s West End neighborhood at 1618 Second Street. The West San Rafael Clinic expands services concurrently as the organization celebrates 50 years of providing community health care in Marin County.
The new clinic will allow the organization to explore a modern care delivery model prominently featuring telehealth – the distribution of health-related services from providers to patients via telecommunications technology such as computers and mobile devices.
“Early in the pandemic we rapidly pivoted to telehealth visits out of necessity and saw the benefits for both patients and providers,” said Chief Medical Officer Melanie Thompson, DO. “We’re now fully equipped and expanding telehealth to allow our patients to connect with a provider from the privacy and comfort of their mobile devices, tablets, and computers.”
Telehealth care has surged rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic, with many services only recently becoming available to Medi-Cal and Medicaid beneficiaries due to the public health emergency and the temporary lifting of regulations previously restricting coverage for telehealth visits.
The Clinics aims to improve access to care, further integrate its Behavioral Health and Medical departments, and pilot new and innovative programs at the West San Rafael Clinic. The space features six rooms (12 divided telehealth spaces); an in-person exam room; a consultation room; an on-site lab; and a conference room. Visits are currently available by appointment now.
For many of the nearly 1 in 5 Marin County residents Marin Community Clinics serves, telehealth visits are a more convenient option with several advantages:
- Patients are able to easily connect to providers to manage their health and well-being
- Many are often more comfortable in a non-clinic setting
- There is no transportation time or costs associated with getting to an appointment
- Telehealth visits can eliminate the need to take the day off work for many patients
- In-person visits will be accommodated at the new clinic by appointment (as medically necessary and based on individual preference)
“We’re now seeing patients that have indicated they would previously avoid getting a check-up or treatment entirely,” explained Dr. Thompson. “Now, they don’t have to miss a day of work, or we can even schedule a visit between their work shifts; some patients are more comfortable communicating via telehealth as well.”
As demand for community health care – including mental health services – remains high, removing barriers such as geographical or transportation constraints is imperative for the Clinics.
“We understand that many of our patients have specific needs, and telemedicine is a very important solution,” said Jose Chibras, MD, the site’s Medical Director. “Opening this clinic is an enormous team accomplishment, especially given some of the supply chain disruptions, construction delays, and unforeseen conditions. We know this will benefit the community and help us further advance health equity.”