Healthcare District Clinics Serve Thousands
The Forde Files No 122
The Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District's clinics in Tehachapi, California City and Mojave are modest, unassuming and absolutely vital to the rural population they serve. Some of the patients, newly signed up under subsidized insurance, have not had proper health care for years.
had proper health care for years. "There's a longer wait now," said Elizabeth Herrera, LVN, who manages the trio of clinics with quiet efficiency and a calm demeanor. "It's six weeks for an appointment. Before, it was two weeks."
The clinic buildings are compact.
"The biggest need is space," Herrera said. "We could see more patients if we had more room for another provider."
A new telemedicine system enables patients to consult with psychiatrists and receive counseling on diabetic, thyroid and other problems.
"There's a lot of depression and anxiety," she said, and rural patients are not accustomed to the new technology.
"It's like sticking your foot into a pool when it's cold."
The clinics, their walls lined with manila folders, need to switch from paper files to electronic medical records (EMR).
If Adventist Health assumes operation of the clinics following a positive vote on Measure H, EMR would be a priority.
"We have 34 rural health clinics in the Central Valley network," Adventist spokesperson Jimmy Phillips said. "We have EMR integrated in all facilities." The three TVHD clinics, he said, would be on the same EMR system.
"The number one thing is to get the clinics on the same electronic medical records as Tehachapi Hospital and San Joaquin Hospital," Phillips said.