NOVATO -- Grants totaling $2 million were distributed by the Marin Community Foundation to various health care agencies in Marin County as part of a $10 million, five-year grant established by Sutter Health.

It's the third year that the foundation has doled out the $2 million awards, totaling $6 million so far, from the Sutter Health Access to Care Fund established in 2010.

The latest round of grants will support access to health care for uninsured and underinsured patients throughout Marin's community clinics, according to the foundation.

The most recent recipients are:Marin Community Clinics, which received $975,000 for oral, behavioral, adolescent and women's health services.Coast Health Alliance, which received $125,000 for behavioral health services.The Ritter Center, $300,000 for behavioral health.Marin Department of Health and Human Services, $225,000 for coordination of prevention efforts, breast screenings and surgical and specialty care.Partnership HealthPlan of California, $250,000 for children's insurance subsidies.LifeLong Medical Care, $125,000 for geriatric care.

“Cumulatively, these grants are having a measurable impact on the well-being of uninsured and under-insured residents,” said Dr. Thomas Peters, president and chief executive of the foundation. “From prevention to treatment, these efforts are filling gaps and providing services that are critically important. Any one of the medical issues addressed by these grants can lead to serious medical complications. We’re grateful that Marin has such a responsive and caring system of community clinics, which along with the county’s health department, are able to take care of those in greatest need.”

The foundation said the new grants would build on existing services that the Sutter fund has helped establish, including better access to oral health care, behavioral health services, vaccinations, adult day health center services and breast cancer screenings and management.

"Some of the services provided under the Sutter Health Access to Care Fund have already had important and immediate clinical benefits," Dr. Peters said. "For example, through a new screening protocol funded by one of these grants, a diabetic patient was diagnosed and treated for retinal damage associated with her diabetes. There’s no question that this saved her eyesight.”

Clinics treating patients with behavioral health issues have reported significant increases in the number of screenings for substance abuse and depression and, as a result, the number of people receiving needed services, according to the foundation.

“This is a tremendously successful start to improving access and quality of services for some of Marin’s most vulnerable residents," Dr. Peters said.

Sutter Health is "immensely proud" of this work, according to Mike Cohill, president of Sutter Health’s West Bay Region.

“Our partnership with the Marin Community Foundation enables us to benefit from its expertise and deep knowledge of Marin’s health care needs," he said.