Since You Asked

Since La Clinica del Valle has a Spanish name, are only Spanish speakers allowed services? Please explain how the clinic works. Are the treatments free? Where do they get their money? They have beautiful facilities. — Larry S., Jacksonville

Have you been out of touch lately, Larry? The place you're asking about changed its name to just "La Clinica" several years ago to reflect its changing role in Southern Oregon's health-care community.

The majority of La Clinica's patients are low-income individuals and families, and more than half the patients are native English speakers these days. That's a far cry from 20 years ago, when it was organized as La Clinica del Valle to care for migrant farm workers. Organizers realized over time that many other Rogue Valley residents lacked the funds to get health care, too. (You don't have to be poor to go there. La Clinica also accepts patients who have health insurance.)

La Clinica's funding comes from donations madeby generous members of the community and grants secured by talented grant writers, along with the fees patients pay for services.

The grant writers are sharp. Consider this: La Clinica set out in September 2007 to raise $3.5 million to build its new Central Point Health Center, and had raised about $2.85 million by this fall, including a $450,000 grant from the Kresge Foundation, a $3.5 billion foundation that gives money to organizations across the country.

A large chunk of the money to operate the clinic comes from the federal government. La Clinica is something called a "federally qualified health center," a designation that makes it eligible for large operating grants. La Clinica received $650,000 to operate its new Central Point clinic before it ever opened.

La Clinica chose to expand into Central Point because it has been the fastest-growing community in the region without dedicated health-care services for low-income and uninsured individuals and families. You can read all about its mission on their Web site:

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