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La Clinica expansion a 'godsend'

(A previous version of this article misstated where Birch Grove Health Center is moving to. It has been updated.)

Nicole Abernethy said her experience as a first-time mother has been defined in many ways by the help she received from her health care provider.

A “centering group” of women in varying stages of their pregnancies and a postpartum group offered her a place to ask questions and process her experiences while growing and raising a new daughter.

“For a new mom like me who did not know anything, it was super helpful,” she said while sitting in La Clinica’s Women’s Health Center on Tuesday. It was the clinic’s first day at its new location at 221 W. Stewart Ave. “Coming to La Clinica was like a godsend, honestly, because everything you needed was right there.”

La Clinica, which aims to provide preventive and primary care, especially for low-income people, is shuffling its established clinics to new locations and moving some staff into a new 44,000-square-foot building to offer services to more patients like Abernethy in Jackson County.

“We definitely know that there are people who are not able to get the care they need,” said Julie Wurth, communications officer for La Clinica. “And that’s what we’re here for.”

Kim McQuoid, medical director at the Women’s Health Center, knows what an unmet need can mean for patients.

“Preterm delivery, small-for-gestational-age babies, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes that hasn’t been caught early,” she said, listing a few examples of what might impact a mother who lacks access to prenatal care.

But La Clinica’s shakeup will allow it to care for an additional 5,500 new clients, from mothers to mental health patients, Wurth said.

In addition to moving the Women’s Health Center to Stewart Avenue, the Birch Grove Health Center will move next month from the Jackson County Health and Human Services building into a new location at 910 S. Central Ave (corrected). That facility provides primary health care, as well as providing mental and substance use services.

A building La Clinica recently purchased at 931 Chevy Way, out toward the Medford airport, will now house a variety of administrative staff. The space left at the Phoenix Health Center and La Clinica’s Wellness Center will now be available for patient care.

A community assessment published by ACCESS in November 2017 found that more than 77,000 people in Jackson County were considered low income.

La Clinica currently serves about 30,000 patients, it said. Rogue Community Health also serves low-income patients in the area, but gaps remain. With the changes, La Clinica expects to be able to make a bigger impact.

Wurth said the response is in line with the health care network’s mission.

“My experience since I’ve worked here is La Clinica does a really good job of listening to what’s out there and then creating space that addresses that need,” she said. “That’s what I see happening here again. ... We have identified this need, and then we’re going to create space to address it so people can get in.”

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Kaylee Tornay at ktornay@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4497. Follow her on Twitter @ka_tornay.

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