By Clifford L. Williams
A cascade of blue and white balloons, amazing colorful artwork, and nearly 300 excited patrons, were all part of the grand dedication last week for the LifeLong William Jenkins Health Center (WJHC), located at 150 Harbour Way in Richmond, CA.
In a pre-dedication ceremony, Dr. Brazell H. Carter, president of the Robinson Weeks Robinson (RWR) scholarship program and a physician at LifeLong, officially welcomed early attendees in the RWR Conference Room, announcing that the WJHC has been in full operation since the facility opened in February 2020. The dedication was postponed in March 2020 because of the pandemic
Dr. Nathan Stern, Associate Medical Director of the LifeLong William Jenkins Health Center, discussed some of the services available at the huge, 33,000 sq. ft., three-story complex. “We are the only LifeLong facility in Richmond, with services for newborns to older adults.”
“We have the only urgent care services in Richmond which are currently open five days a week, in addition to a behavioral health department that includes mental health therapy for adults. Since its opening, the center has served over 80,000 patients.”
“We also have a very active prenatal program. Many pregnancies have come through the facility. We have an 18-resident Family Medicine residency program which started over two years ago, with our first class scheduled to graduate next summer. The faculty will bring with them a lot of specialty services including podiatry, acupuncture, procedure clinics, women’s health procedures, and radiology.”
“In addition, we have a large dental clinic that includes services from extractions to implants, as well as COVID-19 labs where staff can provide COVID testing and vaccinations. The LifeLong faculty also has a wellness center which focuses on healthy eating, and exercise classes which have been conducted via hybrid classes and Zoom because of the pandemic.”
The WJHC accepts MediCal and Medicare patients, as well as people who do not have any insurance at all. “As a federally-qualified health center, we do not deny medical services to anyone, even if they don’t have the ability to pay,” said Dr. Stern.
“Our main population of patients, nearly 70%, have MediCal, and since May of this year, that number has increased significantly. Other patients, about 15%, are uninsured. Some patients may pay on a sliding scale from $45 to $115, based on their income.”
As one of the leading Scholarship Funds in West Contra Costa County, the RWR scholarship has been at the forefront of making a difference in the community since 1989. The program supports students with ambitions in medicine and S.T.E.M. programs, looking to create a lasting change. Dr. Carter, who oversees its operation, has been providing medical services for over 40 years.
Dr. Carter is a Bay Area community leader in health medicine. He practiced at his facility on McDonald Avenue in Richmond for the last 40 years until he joined LifeLong as a practicing physician. He also is a director of four nursing facilities in the area.
Dr. Stern noted that there’s a big difference in how well the County takes care of undocumented residents. “There are fewer services out here for those patients,” said Stern. “When it comes to the health care the County provides, it’s on a different level.
“I’m amazed what a great health center this is in Contra Costa County. Having this health center with all these outstanding services and community resources is why I came to work here. The only other medical facility is the nearby Kaiser Hospital.”
LifeLong has another large clinic in San Pablo, however, the facility does not have a residency program. LifeLong also operates a smaller site in Pinole, as well as a satellite site in Rodeo.
For more information on how to obtain care at LifeLong Medical Care or to make a donation, call 510.981.4100 or visit http://www.lifelongmedical.org. For more information on the Robinson Weeks Robinson scholarship program and to make scholarship donations, contact them at 510.426.6044 or RobinsonWeeksRobinsonScholarships.org.
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