Marin health centers to receive funding from Sutter Health grant

NOVATO - The Marin Community Foundation is poised to distribute grants totaling $1.25 million from the Sutter Health Access to Care Fund as the county anticipates an increase in demand from uninsured or underinsured residents.

In particular, a range of community health centers in Marin County will receive money from the fund that was started earlier this year to increase access to dental care, vaccinations, behavioral health services and substance abuse treatment, officials said.

“By focusing on these three critical areas of need, we will be helping people whose medical problems could easily become more severe without treatment,” according to Marin Community Foundation President Thomas Peters.

Marin Community Clinics will receive a grant of $500,000 that will enable it to triple the number of visits at its two dental facilities in San Rafael and Novato – to 3,500 people per year.

Currently, patients must wait approximately three months for such services, according the Marin Community Clinics Executive Director John Shen.

A grant of $250,000 will fund vaccinations for roughly 1,250 adults at various licensed community health clinics, with oversight coming from the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services.

And another $500,000 is slated for three community health centers to provide vulnerable county residents access to an array of services related to substance abuse and behavioral health on an as-needed basis with primary care physicians. The three centers that will provide the services are the Coastal Health Alliance, Marin Community Clinics and the Ritter Center, with coordination and protocols to be established by the county health department.

The foundation worked closely with Sutter to identify what areas of service warranted additional funding, said Fred Silverman, a spokesman for the foundation.

“One of the reasons donors often come to us is because we know the community very well,” he said.

The fund has $10 million, which is expected to be distributed over the course of five years.

“The foundation, in close consultation with the county health department, worked quickly and collaboratively to identify these urgent medical needs,” Sutter West Bay President Martin Brotman said in a statement.

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