Increasing Access to Care

Hoping to keep our people healthier, Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System has designed programs and services to increase access to care and help prevent chronic conditions.

Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System has a lofty goal – to transform the health and well-being of this community. Hoping to keep our people healthier, we have designed programs and services to increase access to care and help prevent chronic conditions.

SVMHS Mobile Clinic

Meeting the Medical and Social Needs of Underserved Communities

The Mobile Clinic offers free care and services to patients who are uninsured and/or live in areas without easy access to healthcare.

In addition to receiving essential healthcare services, patients of the SVMHS Mobile Health Clinic receive an assessment of their unmet social needs.

“The clinic not only cares for medical needs, but also helps patients get through difficult times,” says Lynette Fitzgerald, SVMHS Mobile Clinic Manager. “Our Community Health Advocates assist by distributing gift cards, food bags and more. They also provide support by connecting people to organizations that can help.”

In addition to grocery and gas gift cards, the Mobile Health Clinic provides blood pressure monitors to patients in need. Many patients require lab work, and if they are unable to pay the discounted rate, the Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital Foundation will pay the invoice with grant money received for the Mobile Clinic. The Foundation also held a 2021 holiday pajama and stuffed toy drive for the Mobile Clinic’s youngest patients.

In June and July 2021, the Mobile Clinic collaborated with Centro Binacional para el Desarrollo Indígena Oaxaqueño (CBDIO) in Greenfield for a COVID-19 vaccine clinic, with CBDIO providing the indigenous translators and the Mobile Clinic providing the staff and vaccines to vaccinate more than 125 people.

“This program is seeing a number of patients who need free care and services,” Fitzgerald says. “As awareness increases, so do the patients.”

The Mobile Health Clinic is expanding affordable, high-quality healthcare for at-risk community members who might otherwise have difficulty accessing it because of cost, distance or problems making appointments.

Providing Primary Care to All

Through Doctors on Duty, Salinas Valley Medical Clinic and Taylor Farms Family Health & Wellness Center, we are the primary care provider for thousands of community members, many of whom come from traditionally underserved populations.

2021 stats

Salinas Valley Medical Clinic

With more than 160 providers in the Salinas Valley Medical Clinic, SVMHS increased access to care when it grew the clinic to its current size. Medical practices in SVMC provide care to patients regardless of their ability to pay. Our clinics have a financial policy that provides affordable care and services to those that meet financial criteria, ensuring that anyone that needs our services has access to them.

Adult and Pediatric Diabetes Clinic

The SVMC Diabetes & Endocrine Center in Salinas serves people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and other metabolic and endocrine disorders with care and education. Here, patients can find treatments, nutritional counseling and other resources to help manage diabetes, pituitary and adrenal disorders, polycystic ovarian syndrome, gonadal disorder, osteoporosis and metabolic bone disease, and thyroid gland abnormalities.

In partnership with the University of California San Francisco, our Pediatric Diabetes Clinic continues to support families that would otherwise have to take time away from work and school to travel to the Bay Area for critical services for children with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. The Pediatric Diabetes Clinic is in the SVMC Diabetes & Endocrine Center. There, families learn ways to help their children manage diabetes, including exercising as a family and preparing meals together, and can find education and resources related to insulin pumps and sensor technology, medication management and medical coverage.

Aspire Health Plan

SVMHS invested in Aspire Health Plan with Montage Health to bring affordable health insurance and greater access to care to people in our community.

Aspire Health Plan offers Monterey County’s only individual Medicare Advantage health plans and a network consisting of more than 700 healthcare providers. Aspire Health Plan offers three plans, all of which include Part D prescription drug coverage. Benefits also include: co-pays as low as $0; an over-the-counter allowance; preventive dental coverage; a fitness benefit with access to local gyms; optional dental and vision plans with enhanced benefits; and transportation to in-network appointments.

This community-centered, not-for-profit organization earned a four-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for its 2022 Medicare Advantage plan. Aspire Health Plan’s customer service team also earned five stars for member satisfaction based on measures from the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey.

Free Flu and COVID-19 Vaccination

In 2021, SVMHS offered three free Community Flu Clinics in partnership with the Monterey County Health Department. Hartnell College nursing students helped administer these vaccines. SVMHS also created a mass vaccination site on Abbott Street that distributed tens of thousands of free COVID-19 vaccines. The health system also offers adult and pediatric COVID-19 vaccines at SVMC PrimeCare Salinas, SVMC PrimeCare Monterey and the Taylor Farms Family Health & Wellness Center in Gonzales.

Suzanne Rosen, MD, examines a young patient at SVMC PrimeCare.

Asthma Camp

Prioritizing Kids’ Health and Safety

Asthma Camp returned with a variety of fun, safe and educational activities in 2021, providing campers with the tools and confidence they need to keep their asthma under control and the realization that their asthma should not hold them back from new adventures.

The Respiratory Care team provided tools and techniques to help campers keep their asthma under control. They worked with the children to ensure they were using proper technique when using their inhalers and peak flow meters, and used colors to teach them when they were in a “safe” zone (green), “moderate” zone (yellow) or “danger” zone (red).

“When the children reached the yellow or red zone, we taught them not to panic, but instead to take control by practicing breathing techniques, taking breaks and using their inhalers to get back to the safe zone,” Clark says. “The respiratory therapists kept students engaged, provided pertinent education and acted as camp counselors to ensure each child was safe.”

Asthma Camp 2021 participants enjoy time on the playground.

The week was full of outdoor adventures such  as hiking, swimming, soccer and more. Campers learned about their condition, including what triggers their asthma, the importance of the medications they take and how asthma affects their bodies.

Clark says campers expressed that, during the camp, they felt strong, healthy and inspired.

“It is hard dealing with illness as a child, so it is important to provide them with every tool possible to live a normal life so they can focus on being kids and not being sick,” she says.

Promoting Health Career Pathways

In an effort to ensure a strong pipeline of healthcare providers for the future, SVMHS offers a variety of programs geared toward students of all ages to expose them to various areas of healthcare.

  • To pique interest in healthcare early in life, SVMHS invites elementary school children to its Medical History Museum.
  • The interactive Medical Adventure Camp offers fourth through sixth graders a closer look at the many career and volunteer opportunities in healthcare.
  • For high school and college students, SVMHS’s Career Pathways Program (CPP) allows students 15 and older to volunteer in areas such as Business Pathway/Information Desk, Retail Pathway/Gift Shop and Clinical Pathway in various departments. After six months of continuous service, students may earn community classroom/work experience credits or community service hours.
  • The health explorer post at SVMHS complements CPP by providing enrichment programs coordinated by student leaders and presented by healthcare professionals. Educational meetings presented by health professionals are held monthly with service projects and social events scheduled throughout the year.
  • The Summer Health Institute offers eligible local high school students opportunities to gain firsthand experience in the hospital setting through classroom lessons, job shadowing and team projects related to a clinical case study and a health advocacy topic.
  • In the higher ed arena, a $3 million grant from SVMHS is helping to fund Hartnell College’s healthcare career preparation programs at its new Center for Nursing and Health Sciences. This Center includes classrooms, study rooms, hospital-like clinical simulation rooms that let students work on hypothetical cases, and an artificial reality room offering immersive educational experiences.
  • SVMHS is also one of the healthcare partners that helped launch California State University, Monterey Bay’s Master of Science Physician Assistant program, which is preparing future professional healthcare practitioners who will expand quality and affordable care to diverse patient populations.

Health Education and Awareness

Blue Zones Project Diabetes Innovation

About 45% of Monterey County’s population is either diabetic or prediabetic, and the Blue Zones Project Monterey County Diabetes Innovation is designed to raise awareness, improve preventive benefits at worksites, and support nutrition-focused educational programs in schools.

This disease-specific innovation has now been implemented in 90% of Blue Zones Project Monterey County’s approved schools and worksites.

At worksites, Diabetes Innovation initiatives include adding glucose screening as a requirement for worksite wellness biometrics, diabetes and diabetes-prevention education as a requirement for the employee education model, and development and distribution of diabetes and diabetes-prevention resources.

In schools, integration of the Diabetes Innovation means adding the American Diabetes Association assessment implementation with students and families to increase awareness, diabetes and diabetes-prevention programs as a focus for student/family education and programs, and diabetes and diabetes-prevention resources.

Prescribe Safe

SVMHS is one of many community organizations collaborating on the Monterey County Prescribe Safe Initiative. This program is designed to improve prescription drug safety, reduce inappropriate prescribing of pain medications and sedatives,  increase access to addiction treatment, and teach the community and medical providers about the potential dangers associated with prescription drugs. Since its launch in 2014, Prescribe Safe has contributed to a more than 50% reduction in opioid prescriptions in outpatient clinics and a drastic decrease in the opioid overdose death rate in Monterey County.

Ask the Experts

Physicians continued to provide critical health information to the community through live, interactive Ask the Experts video events on Facebook that could also be watched on demand. These video presentations were especially important when in-person opportunities were not available. Hundreds of people watched those English- and Spanish-language presentations live, and thousands more watched later.

In 2021, there were 23 Ask the Experts presentations, 13 in English and 10 in Spanish. Topics included COVID-19 vaccines; Heart Month (including the TAVR and WATCHMAN™ procedures); diabetes; healthy cooking demonstrations; women’s health; men’s health/prostate cancer; children, school and the COVID-19 vaccine; stroke; obesity; breast health; COVID-19 and the flu; and healthy holiday cooking demonstrations. To view Ask the Experts videos, visit the SVMHS Facebook page at

Pediatric Wellness Program

In December 2021, the SVMH Foundation pledged $900,000 to the Pediatric Wellness Program operated by Aspire Health in partnership with SVMHS and Montage Health. The Pediatric Wellness Program provides no-cost group and individual health coaching in both English and Spanish – in person, virtually or by phone – for a family-based approach to wellness and diabetes prevention.

The program includes the 5, 2, 1, 0 method, which teaches families to aim for five or more servings of fruits and vegetables, two hours or less of recreational screen time, one hour or more of physical activity and zero sugary drinks daily. The program includes regular follow-ups to help ensure that families stay on track.

Since 2019 the Pediatric Wellness Program has reached 2500+ families partnering with 20+ referring providers from monterey, seaside, marina, salinas, greenfield, and gonzales

Community Benefit Program

SVMHS supports grants, sponsorships, and health and wellness programs that align with our Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and Implementation Strategy. We collaborate with other community organizations to improve health outcomes and wellness for our community members, including low-income, medically underserved, and uninsured and/or underinsured residents.

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